ATLANTA (June 19, 2019) -The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) announced that three-time NCAA champion Annie Rodenfels of Centre has been named the 2018-19 Wessex Hotels SAA Woman of the Year.
The SAA Woman of the Year presented by Wessex Hotels is the highest honor the league bestows. Rodenfels had nothing short of amazing careers in both cross country and track and field at Centre.
"On behalf of our eight SAA institutions, I would like to congratulate Annie on this award," said SAA Commissioner Jay Gardiner. "She represents all that an SAA and NCAA Division III student-athlete is. Not only is she a world class competitor on the track, but she was an outstanding student and an individual that served well in her community. Her accomplishments were truly remarkable amongst a number of great nominees from around the SAA."
In the classroom, Rodenfels graduated with a 3.61-grade point average (GPA) in psychology and a minor in gender studies. She was eight-time All-SAA Honor Roll member.
From the standpoint of athletics, Rodenfels is the reigning NCAA Division III National Champion in the women's 3000m steeplechase, finishing with the fifth fastest time in Division III history at the 2018 NCAA Championships. The win made Rodenfels the first female national champion at any sport at Centre.
Her collegiate swan song at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships was a meet for the ages as she repeated as National Champion in the 3000m steeplechase while adding another National Championship to her resume with a victory in the women's 5k, effectively becoming the most decorated female student-athlete in Centre history.
She was a five-time All-American in track and field, earning additional honors in the women's indoor 5k in 2019 with a runner-up finish, as well as another All-America recognition in the 3000m steeplechase as a sophomore in 2017.
In addition to the national honors, Rodenfels is a two-time SAA Women's Track Athlete of the Year and owns 10 different program records between indoor and outdoor track, including the 800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, and 5k. In the meets leading up to the 2019 NCAA Championships, Rodenfels set the Division III record in the 3000m steeplechase, becoming the first female runner in Division III to complete the race in under ten minutes. Her time of 9:58 ranked in the top 25 in the world in the event.
In cross country, Rodenfels is a two-time NCAA and USTFCCCA All-American, earning the honors in 2017 and 2018. Her third place finish at the 2018 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships is the highest finish by any Centre runner in the NCAA Finals, male or female. She owns program records in both the 5k and 6k, giving her a dozen overall records between her two sports.
A winner of the 2018 SAA Women's Runner of the Year award, Rodenfels helped lead the Centre women's cross country team to conference championships in 2017 and 2018, and in 2018, the team earned its first automatic bid to the NCAA Finals in program history.
Outside the classroom and in athletic competition, Rodenfels spent time volunteering with Kids on Pont, was a head counselor at Camp Allyn, served as a summer class intern at Abilities First, and Maximum Velocity Track and Field Academy, and was a summer research assistant for the Centre College Psychology Department.
In a joint effort to honor the Southern Athletic Association's most elite student-athletes, Wessex Hotels and the SAA partnered to create the annual SAA Man and Woman of the Year. The awards, selected by a committee comprised of Wessex and SAA representatives, are given to the senior class male and female nominees who best exemplify traits of leadership, character, athletic and academic success.
The criteria for SAA Man and Woman of the Year nominees included that they must be a senior with no eligibility remaining, they must have been named First Team All-SAA in the sport in which in the participated during their athletic careers, and they must have qualified for the SAA Academic Honor Roll during their tenure as a student-athlete. Additionally, SAA Man and Woman of the Year candidates are expected to be involved in their local community in some meaningful way.