Nevis' Riley Hanson will be among 10 exceptional former student-athletes honored with a 2018 NCAA Today's Top 10 Award during the National Collegiate Athletic Association Convention at Indianapolis, Indiana on Jan. 17.
The award is given each year by the NCAA to honor 10 outstanding senior student-athletes from the preceding calendar year (fall of 2016 to spring of 2017). The 10 recipients are selected from the 480,000 student-athletes who competed at the Division I, Division II and Division III levels in cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, women's volleyball and men's water polo in the fall of 2016 and baseball, basketball, women's beach volleyball, fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, rowing, skiing, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, men's volleyball, women's water polo and wrestling in the winter and spring of 2016-2017.
Hanson helped lead the Concordia-St. Paul women's volleyball team to the NCAA Division III national championship in 2016 as the Golden Bears finished the season with a 35-2 overall record. Concordia won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference title that season with an 18-2 record as Hanson started all 37 matches and 124 sets, compiling 374 kills (for third on the team), 111 blocks (to lead the team) and 52 digs while putting 228 of 258 serves in play with 12 aces.
During her career, Hanson was a two-time Female Athlete of the Year at Concordia-St. Paul and earned three American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors and was a two-time recipient of College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America honors, receiving the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year award. In addition, Hanson was an all-NSIC player four times, received the school's Scholar Student-Athlete of the Year honor in 2017 and received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Hanson also helped Concordia-St. Paul win the national title in 2013 as the Golden Bears went 126-16 during her four-year career. During her career, Hanson became the program's all-time leader in hitting percentage at .401 and ranks sixth in school history with 1,500 career kills and third with 444 career blocks. Hanson capped off her senior season by leading the nation in hitting percentage at .433.
Off the court, Hanson was a three-year member of the Concordia-St. Paul Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, including serving as vice president during her senior year. She volunteered with the Tetra Delta Science Club, which organized educational seminars to prepare students for graduate school and promote social networking through extracurriculars. She also coached youth volleyball all four years. Hanson is now studying to become a dentist at the University of Minnesota.
Joining Hanson on the Today's Top 10 list are Auburn's Casey Cooper (softball), St. Leo University's Marie Coors (women's golf), Washington University-St. Louis' Lizzy Crist (women's soccer), Kentucky's Danielle Galyer (women's swimming and diving), Texas A&M's Sarah Gibson (women's swimming and diving), Virginia's Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (men's tennis), Stevens Institute of Technology's Amy Regan (women's cross country and track and field), Washington University-St. Louis' Deko Ricketts (men's track and field) and Stanford's Maggie Steffens (women's water polo).
The NCAA Honors Committee, which selects the honorees, is composed of representatives from member schools and conferences, as well as nationally distinguished former college athletes. The award expanded from eight recipients to 10 recipients in 2013 to recognize the growing number of college athletes, sports and championship opportunities.