BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 25, 2022) - Two student-athletes from the Southeastern Conference are among the 53 Division I nominees selected by conference offices for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Trinity Thomas of Florida, a member of the Gators' gymnastics program, and Samantha Drop of Georgia, who competed in cross country/indoor and outdoor track & field for the Bulldogs, represent the SEC in the pool of candidates in Division I.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year Award recognizes female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in their community, in athletics and in academics throughout their college careers. As 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the NCAA Woman of the Year program is an opportunity to honor and reflect on the impact of women on intercollegiate sports.
The Woman of the Year Selection Committee will select 10 student-athletes from each division, which will determine the Top 30 honorees. Of the Top 30, the Woman of the Year Selection Committee will announce nine finalists, three from each NCAA division. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will review the finalists and name the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year. For the first time in the award's history, the Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the Woman of the Year will be named at the NCAA Convention, which will take place in January 2023 in San Antonio.
Thomas graduated cum laude this past spring with a bachelor's degree in applied physiology and kinesiology. She was the recipient of the 2022 Honda Sports Award in gymnastics, which is presented annually by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. At the 2022 NCAA Gymnastics Championships, Thomas won the national title in the all-around, uneven bars and floor exercise and earned a share of the title for the uneven bars. She became the 10th student-athlete in the 40-year history of the championships to earn three or more titles in a single NCAA Championship. A 27-time All-American in women's gymnastics, Thomas will be returning to Gainesville to compete for the Gators for the 2023 season while beginning her master's degree in health education and behavior. She has served as Vice President of the Black Student Athlete Advisory Committee and has participated in numerous volunteering opportunities, including visiting the local children's hospital, packaging and distributing care packages to the homeless, and supplying new shoes to elementary school students. Thomas is a three-time Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) Scholastic All-American. The two-time SEC Gymnast of the Year was also named to the Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll three times and earned a spot on the 2019 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Drop graduated summa cum laude in nutritional sciences with a minor in animal sciences and is currently working on her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in Athens. She was nominated as Georgia's female candidate for the 2022 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Postgraduate Scholarship. Drop was named the 2020 SEC Cross Country Women's Scholar-Athlete of the Year, along with being a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team and a USTFCCCA Academic Individual selection. She earned the 2020 Joel Eaves Scholar-Athlete Award for being the UGA female student-athlete with the highest GPA entering the fall semester of her senior year. Drop advanced to the 2017 NCAA Championships with her twin sister and teammate Jessica and earned All-America honors after placing 30th overall. She earned NCAA Cross Country All-Region honors four times, claimed the 2017 NCAA South Regional title, and finished in the top eight twice at the SEC Cross Country Championships. A competitor at 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters, Drop remains third on the school's all-time list in the event and owns three other times that remain on the Lady Bulldogs all-time Top-10 lists. During her collegiate career at Georgia, Drop served as an Executive Board Member of the Special Olympics at UGA, and volunteered to coach the Athens-Clark County Special Olympics gymnastics team. She was also a member of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association Auction Committee, the Blue Key Society and Leadership Education and Development (LEAD). Drop served as the team representative on the UGA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).