July 30, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - UC Davis senior gymnast Katie Yamamura was selected as the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, it was announced by the organization in late July. She is one of 140 student-athletes across all three divisions to reach this level.
The WOTY selection committee will choose 10 honorees from each division in August. The following month, that group will be pared down to nine finalists - three from each division. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will then vote among that final nine to determine the 2013 Woman of the Year. The NCAA will announce the winner and honor the top 30 nominees in Indianapolis on October 20.
Yamamura enjoyed what is arguably the finest career in Aggie women's gymnastics history. She qualified for the NCAA regional three times, won two MPSF Gymnast of the Year nods and claimed 14 All-MPSF awards (including the maximum five in each of her junior and senior years). The Palo Alto, Calif. native and Gunn High School alumna twice set the school all-around record of 39.325 and twice matched the program vault benchmark of 9.900.
Prior to her arrival at UC Davis, only four gymnasts had ever broken the 39-point barrier in the all-around, and none had done it more than once. Yamamura hit that milestone 10 times, first surpassing Flora Bare's old record of 39.200 as a junior, then scoring 39.325 in back-to-back home meets in March of her senior season.
In the classroom, Yamamura garnered her second Capital One Academic All-America At-Large selection in 2013, while adding an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award, an Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year nomination and an academic all-conference award. Yamamura graduated in neurobiology, physiology and behavior with a grade-point average of 3.96.
UC Davis owns a stellar history in the NCAA Woman of the Year program, boasting three past winners. Middle distance runner Jamila Demby won the award in 1999, then her relay teammate Tanisha Silas claimed it in 2002. Two years later, lacrosse player Kelly Albin won both the Woman of the Year and NCAA Today's Top VIII accolades. Furthermore, track sprinter Kameelah Elarms (2001) and softball pitcher Susan Churchwell (2003) each advanced to the final 10. Soccer player Kim Haskell was the first Aggie to be honored by the program, representing the state of California in 1997.