INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- University of Tennessee track & field and cross country standout Felicia Guliford attended Saturday night’s NCAA Woman of the Year dinner at the Murat Centre’s Egyptian Room and was recognized as one of the nine finalists for the 2007 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
The honor, now in its 17th year of existence, highlights outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in athletics, academics, leadership and service. The winner, swimmer Whitney Myers of Arizona, was chosen by the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics.
Guliford, a 2007 UT graduate with a double major in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology and Spanish, is the seventh UT woman to become a finalist for the award. The product of Gallup, N.M., had hoped to follow in the footsteps of swimmer Catherine Byrne (1992) and diver Lauryn McCalley (2005) as Lady Volunteers who had previously been named NCAA Woman of the Year. Guliford joined a group of Lady Vol finalists that includes McCalley (2005), Kara Lawson (2003, basketball), Lizzy Flynt Asti (2001, diving), Katharina Larsson (1994, golf), Byrne (1992) and Patty Wiegand (1991, track & field/cross country).
After starting out as one of 128 conference and independent nominees back on July 2, Guliford had previously made the NCAA’s list of 30 finalists on Aug. 27 and was then among the final group of nine candidates selected to travel to Indianapolis for the awards banquet. Among the eight other final candidates Guliford competed against for the honor were Shauneen Garrahan (track & field/cross country) of Amherst College, Ana Gutierrez (softball) of Seattle University, Jessica Javelet (field hockey) of the University of Louisville, Whitney Myers (swimming & diving) of the University of Arizona, Ashley Parker (track & field) of Lincoln University [Pa.], Debbie Sharnak (tennis) of Vassar College, Sarah Shearman (volleyball) of Truman State University and Jamie Wolf (swimming & diving) of Clarion University [Pa.].
Among her academic honors at Tennessee, Guliford was an ESPN the Magazine first-team Academic All-District IV track and field/cross country team member in 2007 and a second-team selection in 2005. Additionally, she was named to the Women’s Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association Academic All-America squad in 2004, was a ten-time Dean’s List honoree and was a member of the Southeastern Conference Freshman Academic Honor Roll in 2003, the SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2003-07, and the Lady Vol Honor Roll, 2003-07.
Athletically, Guliford was a team captain and team peer mentor in 2006-07. She was a first-team All-American in track & field in 2005 and was a member of Tennessee’s first-ever NCAA track & field team championship (indoor) that season. She also was a member of the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship teams in 2005 and 2007, winning SEC titles indoors at 3,000 and 5,000 meters in 2005 and claiming an SEC Outdoor crown at 5,000 meters that season as well. Her effort at the indoor league meet earned her a share of the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy, which goes to the event’s high scorer.
In cross country, Guliford was a member of four NCAA South Region championships and three SEC team titles at UT, earning first-team All-SEC in cross country in 2004 and 2005 and NCAA All-South Region in cross country in 2002, 2004 and 2005. She is one of three Lady Vols in school history to appear in four NCAA Cross Country National Championships during her career and helped UT make its first run of four straight team appearances at the NCAA meet as well.
Guliford’s list of service and leadership activities includes serving as a volunteer at the Free Medical Clinic for the Working Poor and at Catholic Charities, coordinating after-school and weekend activities for children in a low-income subdivision as part of Montgomery Village Children’s Outreach, and organizing and conducting day camps for students ages 5-18 on Native American reservations as part of WINGS Running and Fitness Camps.
Guliford was honored with track & field’s Lady Vol Community Service Award in 2007, was an SEC Good Works Team selection in 2006, was a Brad Davis SEC Community Service Award winner in 2007, and was voted Miss Tennessee at UT Athletics’ 2007 VOLSCARS award show, recognizing her as the female UT student-athlete who best demonstrated the traits of service, leadership, academics and athletics.
Attending the NCAA Woman of the Year dinner with Guliford were her parents, Lawrence and Edna Guliford.. She also was joined by Senior Associate Women’s Athletics Director Donna Thomas, Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Todd Diacon, Thornton Center Academic Counselor Kay Shanahan, Lady Vol Track & Field/Cross Country Head Coach J.J. Clark, Assistant Track & Field Coach John Frazier and Associate Media Relations Director Eric Trainer.