AC's Longaker named SCAC Co-Woman of the Year

Herald Democrat
Austin College senior Ally Longaker was named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Woman of the Year, an honor she shares with Isabelle Aragon-Menzel of Colorado College.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — In exclusive voting by the senior woman administrators of the conference, Ally Longaker of Austin College has been selected Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Co-Woman of the Year.

Longaker will share this year’s award with Isabelle Aragon-Menzel of Colorado College.

In addition to being recognized as SCAC Woman of the Year, both will be nominated for the 31st annual NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service and leadership.

Longaker, who joins Shelby Eaves (2014) as the only other ‘Roo to earn SCAC Woman of the Year honors, graduated this past spring with a 3.93 grade point average while earning a double major in Psychology and Public Health.

A four-time SCAC Academic Honor Roll selection and seven-time Austin College Dean’s List designee, Longaker was the SCAC’s Elite 19 award winner for women’s basketball this season and earned the Bo Miller Outstanding Scholar Athlete award from Austin College, recognizing the highest GPA among senior female student-athletes.

On the hardwood, Longaker was a four-year starter for head coach Michelle Filander, averaging 8.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 91 career contests. A two-time All-SCAC second-team selection, she helped the ‘Roos to a share of the 2018 regular season championship and the school’s first tournament title in 2020. She was team captain her senior season.

“Ally is the quintessential Division III student athlete,” Filander said. “She worked incredibly hard over four years to improve her game and find great success but was able to find even greater success and growth outside of basketball. Her service and leadership experiences speak volumes. Ally left our program better than she found it and remarkably so at that.”

Longaker volunteered with a campus Influenza Research and Health Campaign, as well as both the Austin College Great Day of Service and the Roo Boo. She earned a United Way internship with Outreach Paraguay, which ended up being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and volunteered with an Austin College Global Outreach Fellowship opportunity in Columbia.

She also worked an internship at the Grayson County Children’s Advocacy Center, which proved to be a turning point in Longaker’s college experience.

“I knew that I had a passion for working with and helping others, and that I wanted to do something to give back to my community,” Longaker said. “That is when I decided to become an intern at the Grayson County Children’s Advocacy Center. While there, I worked as a member of a multidisciplinary team to both combat and treat child abuse. This became one of my most influential experiences while at Austin College. I quickly became humbled by the work I was doing and learned that there is always work to be done that is greater than myself.

“This experience not only taught me the direction that I wanted to direct my studies and my career, but it taught me a new perspective. I saw athletics and leadership in a new light after this experience. I learned that to lead others is also to serve others, and that the success of the group is more important that your own success. I became passionate about this mentality and strongly believe that it helped me contribute to the success of our (basketball) team in the coming years.”

As SCAC co-winners, Longaker and Aragon-Menzel will both be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, along with all other conference winners. The selection committee will choose the top 10 nominees in each division. From among those 30 honorees, the selection committee will determine the top three in each division. From the nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then selects the NCAA Woman of the Year, who will be named this fall.

In conjunction with the changes in the nomination process for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Woman of the Year award was established for the 2005-06 athletic season. Beginning in 2006, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) started receiving conference-designated nominees in lieu of the previous institution- and state-based nomination format.

From 1991 to 2005, each state had a woman of the year honoree and from that group 10 finalists were selected. From the top-10 finalists, the national winner was then chosen. Since 2006, each conference and independent school forwards nominations to the NCAA.