Townsend, who captured 16 All-American swimming certificates over her four year career, capped off her collegiate career in the pool at the 2016 NCAA Division III Swimming & Diving Championships by helping the Ladies finish as the national runner-up for the third time in the last four years. She picked up her 16th All-American award last winter by finishing fifth as a member of the 400 medley relay team, but the most notable moment of her career came back in 2013 when she earned the national title in the same event as a freshman. Townsend swam the anchor leg on that record-setting relay team that still holds the national benchmark in the event with a time of 3:40.13. The three-time member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Division III At-Large First Team also leaves Kenyon as the program's record-holder as a member of three different relay teams, including the 400 free (3:22.47), 800 free (7:20.84) and the 400 medley (3:40.13). In her sophomore season at the national meet, Townsend also collected the NCAA's Elite 89 trophy, which is given annually to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point-average participating at the championship site.
Townsend graduated summa cum laude from Kenyon this spring as an International Studies major with a 3.95 GPA and has accepted a J. William Fulbright Fellowship as an English Teaching Assistant in Turkey for the 2016-17 academic year. She was the recipient of Kenyon's 2016 International Studies Award and was also awarded one of the NCAA's Postgraduate Scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year. In addition to her national accolades, Townsend was also named to Kenyon's merit list every semester and was a three-time member of the NCAC Academic Honor Roll. Townsend, who was elected to Kenyon's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in 2016, was also awarded the Elmer A. Graham Endowed Scholarship in 2015 as Kenyon's most outstanding junior.
While her athletic and academic accolades stand out above other student-athletes, Townsend also left her mark on the Kenyon campus and the surrounding community through her service and leadership roles. On campus she served in many leadership roles, including being nominated to the senior class committee, serving as a counselor for first-year students during freshman orientation and volunteering in the Student Accessibility & Support Services Office as a peer note taker for handicapped and disabled students. Her outreach also stretched into the local community as she was a volunteer tutor at the Knox County Learning Center and also a volunteer swim instructor for the local Knox County Community. She served as the journal editor for the Middle East Student Association (MESA) during her senior year and was instrumental in redesigning the journal into a digital format. Her international endeavors also included serving as a summer intern at the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) & Middle East Policy Council (MEPC).
Townsend was one of seven outstanding nominees considered by the selection committee. The other candidates included
- Aedin Brennan, Women's Track & Field, Denison University
- Lindsay Brewer, Women's Volleyball, Hiram College
- Hilary Coady, Women's Track & Field, The College of Wooster
- Meigan Day, Women's Track & Field and Volleyball, Ohio Wesleyan University
- Kara Seidenstricker, Women's Volleyball, Wittenberg University
- Caroline Zadina, Women's Soccer, DePauw University
The NCAC Woman of the Year Award commemorates former Wittenberg women’s basketball Head Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Pam 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, Townsend 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 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner in Indianapolis on October 16, 2016.
NCAC Pam Smith Award Winners
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