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Kenyon's Orbach-Mandel Garners Pam Smith Award

Kenyon's Orbach-Mandel Garners Pam Smith Award

Recent Kenyon College graduate and women’s swimmer Hannah Orbach-Mandel (Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills) has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Pam Smith Award.

A four-year member of the Kenyon Women’s Swimming and Diving team, Orbach-Mandel was a three-time NCAA event champion and 25-time NCAA All-American. During the most-recent NCAA Championships, she registered seven All-American performances including national titles in the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays. In conference action, she was an eight-time NCAC champion and 14-time All-NCAC honoree. She helped establish four new Ladies' program records in the 200-, 400- and 800-yard free relays as well as the 400 medley relay.

Orbach-Mandel graduated in May with a 3.91 grade-point average, earning a degree in economics while minoring in mathematics. She was named a four-time College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American as well as a two-time Google Cloud Academic All-American selection. Orbach-Mandel was Kenyon’s female honoree for the 2019 NCAC Scholar-Athlete award and was a three-year member of the NCAC Academic Honor Roll. She departs Kenyon with an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Orbach-Mandel was involved in Kenyon’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council while also serving as a Kenyon Orientation Team Leader. Other events she was part of included a Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Girls and Women in Sports Day and Relay for Life. Orbach-Mandel also volunteered at the Salvation Army and the Wiggins Street Elementary where she assisted third-graders with math, reading and english.

Orbach-Mandel was inducted into the Kenyon College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and the Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honors Society. She was chosen to participate in the NCAC’s Branch Rickey Mentorship Program where she shadowed members of the Kenyon athletics department and learned about the inner-workings of collegiate athletics. She was also a four-year member of the Kenyon College Merit List.

Orbach-Mandel was one of six outstanding nominees considered by the selection committee. The other candidates included:

Emily Forner, Cross Country/Track & Field, Allegheny College
Jane Goodspeed, Women’s Lacrosse, Denison University
Suzanne Peters, Volleyball, DePauw University
Maite Turlings, Field Hockey, Earlham College
Karen Wildemann, Volleyball, Wittenberg University

The NCAC Woman of the Year Award commemorates former Wittenberg women’s basketball Head Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Pam Evans Smith, who had a profound impact upon the athletes she coached and the students she taught over an illustrious career that spanned more than two decades. She was the architect of the women’s basketball program with the most wins and highest winning percentage in NCAC history through 2007. A 1999 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Smith earned seven NCAC Coach of the Year awards and compiled a 401-170 record after taking the reins of a struggling program prior to the 1986-87 season. She led the Tigers to eight NCAA Division III tournament appearances, twelve 20-win seasons, and 11 NCAC regular season championships. 

As the NCAC winner, Orbach-Mandel will be nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Each NCAA conference, and independent institutions, can nominate one distinguished female student-athlete for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) will meet in August to select the top 10 winners in each division. In September, the selection committee will then evaluate the 30 honorees and choose the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the Woman of the Year. The top 30 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.

NCAC Pam Smith Award Winners

2019 - Hannah Orbach-Mandel, Kenyon
2018 - Julia Wilson, Kenyon
2017 - Ellie Crawford, Kenyon
2016 - Haley Townsend, Kenyon
2015 - Maggie MacPhail, DePauw
2014 - Paige Gooch, DePauw
2013 - Leah Sack, Kenyon
2012 - Alisa Vereshchagin, Kenyon
2011 - Katie Navarre, Denison
2010 - Sarah Shinn, Ohio Wesleyan
2009 - Tracy Menzel, Kenyon
2008 - Erin Gorsich, Denison