PELLA — Central College softball player Sara Tallman (Pella, Iowa) is the college’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Established in 1991, the award recognizes graduating female athletes who have distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their college careers.
Tallman graduated in 2020 with a 3. 96 grade point average and a major in elementary education. She returned for a fifth season this past spring following the cancellation of the 2020 campaign due to the global pandemic.
Tallman was a second-team Academic All-America® pick a year ago and is under consideration for the honor again after recently receiving academic all-district distinction for the third consecutive year.
A five-time varsity letterwinner, Tallman received Central’s LeRoy Timmer Most Valuable Player Award the past two seasons and served as a team co-captain in 2020. The squad’s Defensive Player of the Year Award recipient in 2018 she was the Newcomer of the Year Award winner in 2017. She’s a three-time Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete Award winner and a four-time academic all-conference honoree. She was a three-time NFCA Division III All-Midwest Region player as well as a three-time first-team all-conference pick.
Tallman is Central’s career leader in runs scored (153) and stolen bases (115). She ranks third in career hits (153), fifth in batting average (.377), sixth in on-base percentage (.444), eighth in stolen-base percentage (.821) and eighth in walks (63).
This spring she hit .294 with 22 runs scored and 14 steals along with a .962 fielding percentage.
On campus, Tallman was a part of the Central Teacher Academy and spent a semester of international study in Wales.
“Softball was a safe environment that put me in situations outside of my comfort zone,” Tallman wrote in her nomination essay. “It empowered me to push aside my self-consciousness and face challenges head on.
“I have excelled in academic and professional settings due to the life skills I have learned from Central College softball.”
Nearly 200 Division III student-athletes were nominated by NCAA member schools for last year’s Woman of the Year Award. Tallman is among two being considered as this year’s American Rivers nominee, along with women’s basketball player Jenna Taylor of Simpson College. After the league’s nomination is submitted, the Woman of the Year selection committee will then pick the top 30 honorees—10 from each division. The top three from each division will be announced in September with the winner announced at a ceremony recognizing the top 30 in Indianapolis in October.
Eight previous Central nominees have advanced to represent the state or the conference at the national level, including the 2019 pick, Dutch softball pitcher Mariah Fritz.
Central College Woman of the Year Award
State winners (1993-2005) or conference winners (since 2006) listed in bold
1993 – Mindi Remsburg, softball
1994 – no award
1995 – Emilie Hanson, women’s basketball
1996 – Anne Snider, volleyball
1997 – Stacey Sonnek, softball
1998 – Aanna Hanson, women’s basketball
1999 – Katie Bandstra, women’s basketball
2000 – Abbie Brown, volleyball/women’s basketball
2001 – Candace Wilson, volleyball
2002 – Angie Nielsen, volleyball
2003 – Libby Hysell, softball
2004 – Raegan Schultz, women’s track and field, volleyball
2005 – Beth Cunningham, women’s cross country, track and field
2006 – Katie Pederson, volleyball, women’s track and field
2007 – Alicia Whisner, volleyball, women’s track and field
2008 – Terri Berger, volleyball
2009 – Alysha Overturf, softball
2010 – Angie Berry, women’s cross country, track and field
2011 – Jill Ziskovsky, women’s track and field
2012 – Sarah Paulson, women’s golf/basketball
2013 – Melony McDermott, women’s track & field/cross country
2014 – Jordan Overland, softball
2015 – Karlee Rock, softball
2016 – Angie Allgood, women’s tennis
2017 – Sydney Lunardi, women’s soccer
2018 – Kate Patton, women’s track and field
2019 – Mariah Fritz, softball
2020 – Emily Opsal, women’s golf
2021 – Sara Tallman, softball