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Graefnings Named Pac-12 Honoree for 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year

Maria Graefnings of the Utah ski team earned the Pac-12 Conference nomination for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Maria Graefnings of the Utah ski team earned the Pac-12 Conference nomination for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Aug. 1, 2012

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SALT LAKE CITY - Maria Graefnings of the University of Utah ski team has been recognized as the Pac-12 Conference honoree for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

At the 2012 NCAA Championships in Bozeman, Mont., Graefnings won her second career national title by taking first place in the women's 5k freestyle. She then earned a seventh-place effort in the women's 15k classical event.

The Falun, Sweden native finished in the top 10 eight times in 2012 and 20 times over her career at Utah. Including a victory in the 15k classical race at the 2011 NCAA Championships, she earned six All-American honors over her career and won a total of 13 races as a Ute.

Aside from outstanding achievements on the course, Graefnings has also been very active in her community.

Graefnings has served as a personal trainer for older adults at the Columbus Center in Salt Lake City since 2010 and has worked with children with diabetes. She has also trained young, aspiring skiers and delivered lectures on training and nutrition. With her Utah skiing teammates, Graefnings volunteered at the Salt Lake City Marathon and the Utah Special Olympics `Shred the Edge' event as well.

"Maria's career as a Ute is one for the record books," Utah Director of Skiing Kevin Sweeney said. "I am extremely proud of her selection as a conference honoree and we are hopeful in her final selection for the NCAA Top 30. Maria has been absolutely instrumental to our success. I also believe she has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport of skiing and the University of Utah as she has done an excellent job of balancing academic and athletic excellence as well providing team leadership. It is fitting for her to be recognized. This is very exciting news for the program."



Schools from across the NCAA nominated 429 individuals for the national award, which reflects the growth in opportunity for women to achieve as students, leaders and athletes. A quarter of the 429 honorees received the additional recognition by their sport conference for outstanding achievement in their collegiate career.

An announcement of the Top 30 honorees, 10 from each NCAA division, will be made on NCAA.org in early September.

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