Sara Tallman

Sara Tallman was a three-time all-region honoree for Central

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

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