INDIANAPOLIS – CSU Bakersfield cross country and track and field athlete Angel Valdez and Grand Canyon softball player Bianca Boling have been selected by the WAC senior woman administrators to represent the conference for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year award. In its 28th year, the award recognizes graduating female student-athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.
Valdez, a Bakersfield native, graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mathematics with a teaching concentration. She is a 10-time Academic All-WAC honoree (three times for cross country, three times for indoor track and field and four times for outdoor track and field).
In 2017, Valdez posted CSU Bakersfield's first-ever Top 10 finish at the WAC Cross Country Championships as she finished sixth to earn her second All-WAC honor. In 2016, she earned CSUB's first-ever cross country all-conference honor since the school moved to NCAA Division I in 2007. During her career, Valdez reset CSUB's cross country records for the 4k, 5k and 6k races and holds the CSUB cross country record for most consecutive races leading the team with 15 (every race for three seasons).
Valdez also ranks in CSUB track and field's Top 20 all-time in four outdoor events – 10000m (second), 5000m (third), 3000m (sixth) and 1500m (14th). She also established indoor records for CSUB in the 3000m and 5000m as a senior. Valdez posted the highest finishes in CSUB's Division I history at the WAC and NCAA Regional meets.
Valdez tallied 86 hours of community service during her collegiate career with the following organizations or initiatives: Mothers Against Drunk Driving 5k Run; Ronald McDonald House; Campus Cleanup; the Bakersfield Marathon; Mac & Cheese Festival; as a volunteer reader at several elementary schools; and at various CSUB athletic events.
A Phoenix native, Boling earned a bachelor's degree in psychology in April, graduating with a 3.96 cumulative GPA. She will begin a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Midwestern University this fall.
A three-time Academic All-WAC honoree, Boling was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District 8 Team as a senior and was a 2016-17 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete. She was on the GCU President's List from 2014-18, earned the 2018 GCU Outstanding Senior Award, received the Honors College Distinguished Achievement Award in 2018 and also earned the Honors College NCAA Student-Athlete of the Year Award in 2017.
Boling was the female recipient of the 2018 Roland Beck Award, the longest running and most prestigious award that GCU presents given to the male and female student-athlete who demonstrate excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and character. She also received the Kevin and Greta Warren Post-Graduate Scholarship, chosen by GCU Alumni and Minnesota Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren.
A 2018 first team All-WAC honoree, Boling appeared in 159 career games for the Lopes, earning 121 starts. She was also named to the 2018 WAC All-Tournament Team after setting a new record for home runs in the tournament with four as she helped lead the Lopes to the championship game. She was also part of GCU's first-ever regular-season champion team in 2017 and was a second team All-WAC honoree as a freshman.
A four-year member of the Grand Canyon Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Boling logged upwards of 200 hours of community service during her four-year career, including serving as the community service coordinator for softball. She spearheaded the team's two-day trip to Mexico to build a house for a family in need. She also volunteered with the Children's Cancer Network, the YMCA Fall Festival, the Phoenix Children's Hospital Cancer Run, AIDS Walk Arizona, and Southwest Behavioral and Health Services.
Valdez and Boling were among 581 school nominees for the award, the most ever in the history of the program. As the WAC's nominees, they are among 154 conference nominees.
The Woman of the Year selection committee will next select the top 10 honorees in each division. These top 30 honorees will be announced in early September. The selection committee will then choose and announce the top nine finalists (three from each division) at the end of September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will vote from amongst those nine finalists to determine the 2018 Woman of the Year.
The top 30 honorees will be honored and the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 28.
To view the complete list of conference nominees, click here.