St. Catherine University recent graduate Sydney Busker has been nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award announced by the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Wednesday. 

The NCAA Woman of the Year program honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. To be eligible, a nominee must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport, must have completed eligibility in her primary sport, and must have earned her undergraduate degree by Summer 2019.

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As the only golfer in program history to earn Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) All-Conference honors in each season at St. Catherine, Busker holds the record for low round score for both 18 and 36-hole rounds. 

The Detroit Lakes, Minn. native, led the team this season shooting six collegiate lows. Busker broke her own 36-hole record in the fall of 152 (+8), plus brought home two tournament wins. With a season average of 80, Busker led St. Kate's with three top-3 finishes in her final season. Busker earned Women's Golf Coaches of America (WGCA) All-District recognition in her debut and senior seasons. 

Head golf coach Mary Girogi named Busker the team MVP following the 2018-19 season while also awarding her with the Most Heart Award. The Most Heart Award is given to someone who gives everything she has at every opportunity. After granting Busker with the award, Girogi re-named the award the Sydney Busker Award for future seasons. 

Off the course, Busker studied Pre-Occupational Therapy, Psychology, and Spanish as an undergraduate student at St. Kate's. Graduating Cum Laude in the spring of 2019, Busker was accepted into the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program at St. Catherine and is working towards her doctorate degree over the next two years. The three-time MIAC Academic All-Conference member, Busker also represented the golf program on the Wildcat Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She also was recognized as an All-American Scholar through WGCA and was on the Dean's List her first and second years at St. Kate's. 

Aside from the long list of academic and athletic accolades, Busker also spent countless hours volunteering over the course of her four years as a Wildcat. She has volunteered at Special Olympics Minnesota and Texas, Feed My Starving Children, and is a camp counselor for children with muscular dystrophy. Busker also just returned from a Global Volunteers trip to Peru, where she worked with kids teaching them English and basketball. 

As one of 192 Division III females nominated for the prestigious honor. Eligible female student-athletes are nominated by their member school. Each conference office then reviews the nominations from its core member schools (and sponsored sports) and submits its conference nominee(s) to the NCAA. All nominees who compete in a sport that is not sponsored by their school's primary conference, as well as associate conference nominees and independent nominees, will be sent to a separate pool to be considered by a committee. Then, the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee identifies the Top 30 – 10 from each division – and from there selects three finalists from each division. The Committee on Women's Athletics then selects the winner from the nine finalists.

All 30 Woman of the Year honorees will be recognized, and the 2019 Woman of the Year announced at an awards dinner at the Westin Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 20.


Busker Career Highlights

2018-19: In her final year as a Wildcat and captain of the team, senior Busker playing in eleven tournaments lead the Wildcats in the fall, averaging 79.64, having the 9th best scoring average of all MIAC players... her best tournament was at the D3 classic (09/15-16/2018) shooting 3-over-par 147, placing in third for the tournament. Her best round was a 73, also at the D3 Classic.


2017-18: As a junior, Busker broke the Wildcats low round 18-hole record, shooting a 71 twice in 2017. Busker posted a career best finishing fourth at the Wartburg College Fall Invite in September. Busker finished seventh overall at the MIAC Championship. Busker earned All-MIAC honors, MIAC All-Academic honors and was named to the conference All-Sportsmanship team for the Wildcats. Busker's season average of 78.29 placed her second on the team for 2017-18. 


2016-17: As a sophomore, Busker earned All-MIAC honors for the second time in her career thanks to a seventh place finish at the MIAC Championship in October. The sophomore finished in seventh after shooting back-to-back 77s in the second and third rounds to finish the weekend with a three-day score of 237. In addition to her score, Busker played a huge role in St. Kate's MIAC title, as her eagle on the ninth regained the lead for the Wildcats after Carleton's surge in the third and final round. Busker was also a member of the MIAC All-Sportsmanship team. 


2015-16: Following the fall season, Busker led the Wildcats in scoring average with 79.1 strokes per round. At the MIAC Championships, she tied for seventh with a final score of 239 (+23) for All-Championship and All-MIAC honors. As a rookie, Busker had three top 10 finishes and tied for first at the Division III Classic with a school-record 36-hole score of 152 (+8).