The accolades keep coming for women’s soccer’s Chelsie DePonte.
Already a Scholar All-American, Presidential Scholar Athlete and America East Woman of the Year, the graduate student out of Honolulu earned her biggest recognition yet, an NCAA Woman of the Year Top 30 selection.
The NCAA Woman of the Year recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their NCAA eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. Selected from 535 school nominees, the Top 30 honorees include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions and all have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. The honorees represent 12 sports and an array of academic majors.
“I’m very grateful to be in this position, but it really is a testament to everyone at Stony Brook University,” DePonte said. “No one ever wins an award alone, so this is really because of everyone that has ever been part of my life. First, I’d like to say thank you to President McInnis, the Stony Brook University administration, and all the staff and professors. I am the person I am today because of the opportunities I’ve had the chance to be part of at this great institution.”
The Business Management major graduated Summa Cum Laude this past spring and also earned the department’s Noah Farrelly Spirit of the Seawolf Award, given annually to a male and female who exemplify passion and pride for Stony Brook Athletics. She was also a four-year member and president of Positive Assurance With Support, a campus organization to support mental health and a three year member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, serving as the SAAC Mental Health Coordinator.
“She more than deserves this award. She’s the perfect student athlete but an even better teammate to our Seawolves family,” head coach Tobias Bischof said. “She cares more about her teammates, our program and the department than herself. She’s a very humble person who is never seeking attention and always does stuff in the background without people knowing. She’s an incredible pleasure to coach and be around and I am very proud of not only the player but the woman she has become.”
DePonte also helped create the campus’ Women’s Leadership Group, helping raise gender equity awareness and served as a group leader for PACK Mentors, a program to acclimate new student-athletes to campus.
“A big thank you goes to Shawn, Debbie, Izzy, Kate, all my coaches and staff, as well as all student-athletes within Stony Brook Athletics,” DePonte added. “I am beyond grateful to be surrounded by such great leaders and role models in my life, all of you have inspired me in some way and have pushed me to be the best me that I can be. I am so thankful for all of the opportunities you have provided me and encouraged me to pursue. Your support has meant the world to me.”
On the pitch, DePonte has been just as successful as she has been in the classroom and community. The three-time America East Champion is also a Spring 2021 United Soccer Coaches All-Region Selection, as well as a First Team All-America East honoree. She earned Second Team All-Conference and All-Championship honors during the 2019 campaign.
She has tallied 15 career goals, scoring multiple tallies in each of her last four seasons on campus. To open her 2019 season, she scored both goals against CAA standout Northeastern on opening night at LaValle Stadium, sending the Seawolves off and running on what would be a program-record setting 14-win season. She would post a career-high 13 points.
“The impact she has made on our department and university is something that cannot be measured.” Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron said. All of the accolades and all of the awards are so impressive and so well-deserved. She is a shining light in our program and that light will continue to shine long after she’s left Stony Brook.”
“I would lastly like to say thank you to my teammates, past and present, as well as my coaches and family,” DePonte concluded. “You are the reason why I am the person I am today. There are no words to explain how much you have all impcated me and I hope you all know how much I appreciate you!”
The selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division from the Top 30 and the nine finalists will be announced this fall. From thos nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will choose the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year on Tuesday, November 9 during a virtual awards ceremony honoring the Top 30.
Read more at stonybrookathletics.com