INDIANAPOLIS – Four gymnasts are among the 51 collegiate athletes who have been selected by the NCAA as the state-level winners of its Woman of the Year Award, which honors outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics and community leadership.
The four gymnasts named as Woman of the Year for their respective states are: Merritt Leigh Booth (Fort Worth, Texas), University of Alabama, representing Alabama; Johnna Evans (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho), Boise State University, representing Idaho; Amy McClosky (Forney, Texas), Louisiana State University, representing Louisiana; and Deanne Droegemueller (Maple Grove, Minnesota), Oregon State University, representing Oregon.
The 51 state winners were selected from more than 400 nominations by a committee comprised of representatives from NCAA member schools. Judy Sweet, director of athletics at the University of California, San Diego, chairs the selection committee.
Previous recipients of the Woman of the Year Award are: 1997 – Lisa Ann Coole, swimming, University of Georgia; 1996 — Billie Winsett-Fletcher, volleyball, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; 1995 — Rebecca Lobo, basketball, University of Connecticut; 1994 — Tanya Hughes, track and field, University of Arizona; 1993 — Nnenna Lynch, track and cross country, Villanova University; 1992 — Catherine Byrne, swimming, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and 1991 — Mary Beth Riley, track and field, Canisius College.
Ten finalists will be announced later this month. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the NCAA Woman of the Year from among the finalists. The winner will be announced at an awards dinner Sunday, October 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana. This will be the first year Indianapolis has hosted this event. Ticket information is available by calling Indiana Sports Corporation at 317/237-5000 or 1-800-HI-FIVES.
Capsule biographies of the four gymnasts follow. For more information on the remainder of the nominees, visit the NCAA website at

Gymnastics Nominees for NCAA Woman of the Year Award

Merritt Leigh Booth, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
3.648 GPA…major: psychology…three-time first-team all-American…three-time second-team all-American…four-year scholastic all-American…team captain…team placed third in 1998 NCAA championships…member of 1996 NCAA championship team…All-Southeastern Conference academic team…volunteered for Project Angel Tree, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Stallings Rise Center…hometown: Fort Worth, Texas.

Johnna Evans, Boise State University

3.85 GPA…major: biology, environmental studies…1998 second-team all-American in all-around…13th place in all-around at NCAA championships…1996, 1998 Big West Conference Gymnast of the Year and all-around champion…1997 National Invitation Tournament all-around champion…three-time Big West All-Academic Team…volunteered to read to grade school students…coached Girl Scouts in gymnastics…hometown: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Amy McClosky, Louisiana State University

3.63 GPA…major: zoology…1997 all-American in floor exercise and beam…1997 All-Southeastern Conference in beam and all-around…1998 team captain…academic all-American…four-time Southeastern Conference honor roll…Omicron Delta Kappa…volunteered for Reading to Children and Academic Distinction Fund…hometown: Forney, Texas.

Deanne Droegemueller, Oregon State University

3.01 GPA…major: exercise and sports science…1998 first-team all-American on bars, 1995 first-team all-American on beam…Pacific-10 Conference Champion on bars…1998 NCAA West Regional Champion on bars…All-Pacific 10 team on bars…1998 team captain…1998 Pac-10 All-Academic Second Team…vice president of student athlete advisory board…speaker for WARM (We Are Role Models)…hometown: Maple Grove, Minnesota.