Springfield, Mass. - July 1, 2019 - Recent Springfield College graduate Jess Clemens (South Setauket, N.Y.) of the women's gymnastics program was nominated for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, which honors graduating student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service and leadership.
Clemens graduated in May and earned a Bachelor's degree in Sports Biology with a minor in Chemistry as she begins her pursuit of a career in nursing. The South Setauket, N.Y. native was one of 13 women's gymnasts across all Divisions to be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, and is the only nominee from a Division III institution. Other nominees include UCLA's Katelyn Ohashi, LSU's Sarah Finnegan, Arizona State's Anne Kuhm and Kari Lee of Utah.
A record 585 female college athletes have been nominated this year, competing in 23 different sports across all three NCAA divisions, including 262 from Division I. Conferences will select up to two nominees each from the pool of candidates with the Woman of the Year selection committee choosing the Top 30 from there. The selection committee will determine the top three honorees from each division from the Top 30 and announce the nine finalists in September. The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual award ceremony on Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.
In the spring of 2019, Clemens was inducted into the Tri Beta National Biology Honor Society for her academic achievement during her four years on Alden Street. Also a four-time Dean's list honoree, Clemens graduated from Springfield College magna cum laude with a grade-point average of 3.78. Additionally, Clemens was also recently named a Google Cloud Academic All-American®, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, and was a National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) All-American in Academics following the conculsion of the 2019 season.
Also outside of the gym, Clemens was a four-year member of the Student-Athlete Leadership Team (S.A.L.T) at Springfield College, and served on the Team's Executive Board during the 2018-19 academic year. With S.A.L.T., Clemens was responsible for planning meetings, organizing events and encouraging teams and student-athletes to become involved around campus and in the community. Also with S.A.L.T., Clemens helped organize and executed a "Fill the Bus" food drive, which donated over 7,500 pounds of food to the Food Pantry of Western Mass. Clemens has also volunteered with National Girls & Women in Sports Day, Fresh Check Day for mental health awareness, Relay for Life, Girls on the Run and was a mobility volunteer at Hartford Hospital.
Named a team captain prior to the 2019 season in recognition of her leadership amongst her peers, Clemens was also involved with Team IMPACT, which is a national nonprofit that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. She was also involved in a Pen Pal program, in which the women's gymnastics team at Springfield College partnered with a local elementary school to send letters to third-grade students in order to encourage them to continue their education and to become involved in sports.
Clemens capped off an incredible four years at Springfield College with an all-america honor in the all-around competition at the 2019 NCGA National Championships this past March. During the season, Clemens was named the NCGA East Gymnast of the Week three times, and broke the team's all-around record with a 38.750 against Rhode Island College on March 3. The 2018 NCGA East Gymnast of the Year, Clemens also broke the uneven bars record with a 9.800 at Yale, and tied the beam program record with a 9.775, also against Rhode Island College on March 3.
On top of the record-breaking performances, Clemens helped the Pride establish a new team scoring record (190.725), balance beam (48.350) and floor exercise (48.600) records.
Clemens leaves Springfield College as a four-time All-American, as she earned All-America honors on the uneven bars in 2017 and 2018, and also tacked on an All-America honor on the balance beam in 2018.
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