NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- Throughout her career, Carleton College distance runner Simone Childs-Walker ’12 (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) has been the class of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in cross country and track and field, with impressive achievements in the classroom and community to equal her athletic excellence. Wednesday, Childs-Walker added one more honor to her unforgettable collegiate career, as she was selected as the MIAC's nominee for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award.
The NCAA Woman of the Year Award honors senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Childs-Walker's nomination spoke for itself, as the graduating Carleton senior built an incredible resume' in all three areas, and made it clear her time as a student-athlete has given her a foundation to build a successful future.
"As a runner and a leader, I have learned confidence; I have gained the strength to believe in who I am and in where I am going," Childs-Walker wrote in her personal statement, which is an essential component of the nomination. "And as I go, I will carry with me openness and trust."
Throughout her four years running for the Knights, Childs-Walker has virtually been without peer. She was the selected as the top athlete in the conference in each of her three sports - cross country (2011), indoor track and field (2012) and outdoor track and field (2011) - while accumulating a trophy case full of MIAC individual championships and All-Conference honors.
Childs-Walker finished in the top three in each of her four performances at the MIAC Cross Country Championships, culminating in both the individual and team championship as a senior in 2011. She swept the MIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs all four seasons and added a title in the mile as a junior, while also claiming the conference title in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs three times apiece at the MIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Over her career, Childs-Walker claimed a total of 16 MIAC individual titles over her four years, with the three outstanding athlete awards and an Outstanding Women's Performance of the Meet honor in the 5K at the 2011 indoor meet. Childs-Walker garnered 25 All-MIAC honors - 21 in track, four in cross country - as she was named All-Conference in every event she entered throughout her four seasons. Her success continued at the regional and national level as Childs-Walker earned a total of 12 All-American honors and was All-Region each season throughout her career.
Success wasn't limited to athletics for Childs-Walker, who graduates this spring with a near-perfect 3.96 grade point average with a degree in Philosophy. Her academic pursuits will continue in medical school this fall, where she is currently leaning toward pursuing a career in primary care or family practice. Childs-Walker earned Carleton Dean's List honors in each of her four seasons, with Damon Scholar honors and the Dimsdale Medial Research Prize among her numerous academic achievements.
Childs-Walker has also left her mark on the Carleton and Northfield, Minn., communities through numerous service projects and volunteer efforts. She volunteered in the restoration efforts after the Carleton campus was consumed by the Cannon River flood in 2010. She also has put in time at the Bonner Partners in Care Clinic, Sandpoint Family Medicine, Red Wheelbarrow Produce and in her home city at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
In addition, Childs-Walker has been an active member of Carleton's Environmental Advocacy organization to promote environmental and social justice, and she has also volunteered at the Carleton Halloween Carnival for area youth and at Northfield Elementary Field Days. Her leadership included service as captain for both the Knights' cross country and track and field teams, as well as treasurer for Carleton's Farm House (sustainability-themed interest house) and the organizer of Carleton's Farm Bill Awareness Campaign which was part of a national effort.
In order to be eligible for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, nominees must have completed their intercollegiate eligibility in her primary sport by the end of the 2011-12 competitive season and received her undergraduate degree prior to the conclusion of the summer 2012 term, and have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
In August, the top 10 honorees per division will be announced for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. In September, the field of 30 semifinalists will be narrowed to three per division. The top 10 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II, and III will be honored and the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis in October.