WATERVILLE, Maine -- The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) is pleased to announce that Laura Pulito (Bridgton, Maine) of the University of Maine at Farmington and Evelyn Miller (Smithfield, R.I.) of Colby-Sawyer College have been selected as the NAC Women of the Year in a vote of the league's Athletics Directors and Senior Woman Administrators.
Pulito, a two-sport athlete in women's cross country and women's outdoor track and field for the Beavers, and Miller, a standout women's tennis player for the Chargers, will be presented their awards at a to-be-determined date during the 2018-19 academic year.
"Once again we had a strong pool of nominees this year and it was no surprise that both Evelyn and Laura were selected as the NAC Women of the Year honorees," said NAC Commissioner Marcella Zalot. "Impressively, they excelled as students, have had successful careers as athletes and have had positive impacts on their campus communities. We are proud to honor both Evelyn and Laura as they truly exemplify the Division III philosophy."
Miller and Pulito emerged out of a pool of eight institutional nominees from the NAC's member schools. To view the complete list of NAC Woman of the Year nominees for 2017-18, please click HERE.
Pulito, a two-sport student-athlete at UMF competing on the women's cross country and women's outdoor track and field teams, served as a captain for both squads. She was also the UMF Indoor Track and Field Club Team Captain and Vice President.
On the cross-country course, she took sixth place in 2015 and fifth place in 2017 at the NAC Championship earning All-NAC First Team recognition and helping her team claim runner-up honors both seasons. She was Named UMF's "Most Valuable Runner" for the 2015 season, while also being named to the NAC Cross Country and Track & Field Sportsmanship Teams in 2016.
On the track, she was an All-Conference honoree in 2016 (1500m run) and 2017 (4x400m relay), while claiming the title of NAC Champion in 2018 in two events (800m and 1500m). She qualified and competed at the 2018 Division III New England Championships in the 800m and the 4x800 relay while receiving the Team Coach's Award in the 2018 season. She holds school records in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 4x400m and 4x800m events at UMF.
"Laura's self-motivation, discipline, and desire to become the best possible runner is only outweighed by her compassion and desire to help her fellow student-athletes, either by tutoring them or sacrificing her training to help another person," stated former cross country and track and field head coach Dan Campbell. "Laura is truly a very special young lady that has a lot to offer in the world around her."
Pulito graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Secondary Education English, while she minored in both Environmental Studies and Creative Writing. She was named to the Dean's List (High Honors) all eight semesters and was a fall and winter/spring NAC All-Academic Team honoree throughout her career. She was a Parks & Woods Scholarship finalist for Excellence in English in both 2016 and 2017, while serving as a peer mentor and a writing tutor at UMF.
"Laura developed steadily over her career at UMF," said UMF Director of Athletics, Fitness & Recreation, Julie Davis. "She trained hard and smart, and she grew into a confident competitor, her team could rely on for grit, points, and encouragement. She also became an invaluable leader and an inclusive teammate. Meanwhile, she excelled academically and made a significant impact via thoughtful and unselfish engagement in various teaching, service and volunteer activities. Her initiative and modeling facilitated a ripple of engagement among many around her. We are fortunate to have had her in our program and look forward to her thriving in what she does next."
She has spent time working as a counselor at Camp EcoVenture, as a substitute teacher, as a practicum student, as a lifeguard, and as a mentor to middle school students. Pulito volunteered her time at several events and with many groups including Mariah's 5K Run, the Lake Auburn 5k & Half Marathon, the Hospice House 5K & Half Marathon, the Fryeburg Academy Track Meet, with the New Commons Project at UMF, as a youth track coach with the Farmington Recreation Department, and with Kid's Night Out.
The NAC Woman of the Year award is modeled after the NCAA's Woman of the Year program, which honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Miller will move on as the conference's honoree for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award. The NCAA plans to release the list of conference nominees in mid-August.