Lake Forest College softball player Jenny McTague was named Midwest Conference Woman of the Year and the league's NCAA Woman of the Year nominee on Friday.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service, and leadership.
McTague, a pitcher and double-major in environmental studies and economics, ranks among the top 10 in league history and top four in team annals with 97 career appearances, 77 games started, 498.1 innings pitched, 50 victories (against just 26 losses), 12 shutouts, six saves, and 370 strikeouts. She also owns a .274 career batting average with seven home runs in 248 at-bats.
McTague helped lead Lake Forest to a 115-51 overall record, a 52-10 mark in MWC play, and three conference titles and NCAA Division III Tournament appearances over the last four years. She was a First Team All-MWC selection following each of the team's championship seasons and the 2014 MWC South Division Pitcher of the Year. McTague was also a Second Team All-Great Lakes Region selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association as a freshman and junior, a member of the 2014 NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team, and the Regional Tournament's Most Outstanding Player in 2015.
Successful in the classroom as well, McTague is a four-time Academic All-Midwest Conference honoree. She graduated magna cum laude in May with a 3.84 grade point average and recently began a career with Chicago-based Satori Energy. The National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III All-America Scholar-Athlete was also a member of the Dean's List, Phi Beta Kappa, and Omicron Delta Epsilon (National Economics Society) and was the recipient of the Warren A Peterson Memorial Award, given to the graduating senior with outstanding achievement in economics.
McTague was also involved in numerous community service initiatives and campus activities and took on a leadership role in many of them. She participated in annual events such as Special Olympics, National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association Sled Hockey, and Relay for Life and served behind the scenes on Athletic Council and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. As a captain on the softball team, she coordinated events with Mia Gurevitz, the Foresters' adopted teammate through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Outside of the athletic department she held leadership positions in the Alpha Phi Sorority, was part of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society, served on the Campus Sustainability Committee, was a founding member of the Advanced Career Preparation/Interview Focus Group, and was selected to the College's Senior 25.
"Jenny is a truly special individual who is out to save the world," began Lake Forest College Head Softball Coach Joe Kinsella. "Her accolades in the classroom and on the field are a reflection of hard work and determination. We like to describe a humble work ethic with the lunch pail metaphor. Jenny, literally, still carries the beat up green water jug she's been using since she was first playing ball. She sets targets and works hard for them, inspiring those around her with a genuine charisma. Those who know her won't be surprised when she actually does save the world."
"With her commitment to excel in the classroom, in competition, and in the community, Jenny is a role model Division III athlete," commented Lake Forest College Director of Athletics Jackie Slaats. "She has been a key contributor to our extremely successful softball program while, at the same time, making a significant impact on the lives of others, both on our campus and in the greater community. We could not be more proud to have Jenny represent Lake Forest College and the Midwest Conference."
McTague is the fourth Forester in the last five years to be selected as the MWC Woman of the Year, joining soccer and hockey player Michelle Greeneway (2016), soccer player Becky Esrock (2014), and swimmer Becky Shaak (2013).
As the 2017 MWC Woman of the Year, McTague joins the honorees from other conferences on the national ballot. The Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, then chooses the top 30 honorees - 10 from each division.
From the top 30, the selection committee determines the top three honorees from each division and announces the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced at the annual award ceremony October 22 in Indianapolis.