Ahrens Named Top-30 Finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Sun Devil Triathlon's Charlotte Ahrens is still in contention for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, as the NCAA announced her as one of the Top-30 candidates yesterday.
"It is an incredible honor and I am thankful to see that the community around me appreciates the time I had at ASU," Charlotte Ahrens remarked. "But even more important for me is that ASU athletics is getting rewarded for their progress, their growth and their determination to give the very best opportunity to their student athletes. I was shaped tremendously during my time at ASU in athletics, academics, and social life. This honor is as much for me as it is for the entire ASU community."
Ahrens was selected from a record-pool of 605 school nominees — a group that was then narrowed to 161 candidates by conference offices. The Top-30 remaining student-athletes include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions. The honorees competed in 14 sports and studied a broad range of academic majors, including nursing, mechanical engineering, biochemistry, criminal justice, kinesiology, accounting and advertising.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program is a Title IX initiative that has recognized graduating female college athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991. The selection committee will announce the nine finalists, including three women from each NCAA division, in mid-October. From those finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year later this fall.
As one of the founding members of the Sun Devil Triathlon program, Ahrens will always hold a special place in the mind of Head Coach Cliff English.
"Incredibly proud of our German athlete Charlotte," Coach English commented. "She was the first athlete to commit to the program back in 2016. No visit to ASU. Just a bunch of Skype calls during the recruiting process."
The Nuremberg, Germany spontaneous nature and relentlessly positive mindset is not only what led her to ASU, but it was also what helped her succeed in competition and in life.
"This does explain a lot about Charlotte," Coach English reflected on the chance Ahrens took on Arizona State. "Ready for any adventure. Ready to make the most of any opportunity. And that she did."
Ahrens set the tone for Sun Devil Triathlon and established the tradition of excellence that the program has become synonymous with. Not only has the team won four-straight national championships thanks in part to Ahrens' contributions, but they have also been one of Sun Devil Athletics' top performing programs in the classroom because of the example she set.
"One of the highest GPAs we've had in the program's existence," Coach English boasted about the two-time Academic All-American. "One of our strongest competitors. Always an incredible attitude. Always willing to push herself and her teammates in training and in competition. She's earned everything she has achieved. Incredibly proud of her."
It was clearly a mutually beneficial relationship between Ahrens and the four-time defending National Champions, as she looks back at her time with Sun Devil Triathlon fondly.
"I knew how lucky I was being a Tri Devil for the past 4 years, but to really appreciate it, I needed to see it from the sideline," Ahrens reflected. "Being surrounded by people that share the same love for sports and different interests in the classroom makes it a very diverse surrounding, but also a very supportive one."
Both English and Ahrens realize what an incredible match of student-athlete and program this turned out to be. The two-time national runner-up is currently achieving her dreams outside of triathlon, but she still misses her time with the program.
"I mostly miss the backbone of the team, coming to the swimming pool and having a group of ladies that make me smile and I can chat with like there is no tomorrow," Ahrens said. "On top of that they also gave me a sense of belonging in a foreign culture."
Ahrens recognizes that it takes a village to get a student-athlete to the point where she is at, now a Top-30 candidate for NCAA Woman of the Year. Luckily, Sun Devil Athletics offers the support necessary to allow student-athletes to thrive and develop. She has a message for the individuals that helped her along the way.
"I am going to miss the support and understanding of my coaches Cliff (English) and Nicole (Welling), as well as having pillars like Deana (Garner-Smith), Bill (Kennedy), Julie (Miller), Taylor (Henry), and Daniel (Marshall). I am extremely thankful for every single interaction we had as well as your trust in me as an athlete and a person. Thank you!"
Since leaving Arizona State following graduation, Ahrens has been enjoying some down time while preparing for her next phase in life. She provides an update on her summer for the Sun Devil Triathlon community.
"The last couple months, since graduation, I have been on a farm in South Dakota," Ahrens mentioned. "This has been a very different summer for all of us, but I am very glad for the opportunity to spend my summer in nature surrounded by yaks, bees, and chickens. Enjoying some freedom after my last semester, there have been many different hobbies that I picked up and tasks that I learned over the last months. Here in the Black Hills there are also perfect training conditions. I have been swimming in the lakes and riding up and down Mount Rushmore Road (I actually remember the order of the presidents by now)."
She will get to apply her Supply Chain Management degree in her next venture, as she recently accepted a position in Europe.
"While mentally relaxing, I had some time to think about my future path and I am more than excited to announce that I will be starting at Mercedes-Benz in the Netherlands in November," Ahrens exclaimed. "I am thrilled to see what the future holds and I feel blessed to get a jumpstart in the Supply Chain World during these times while discovering another country."
Sun Devil Triathlon will now has a new fan in the Netherlands. While her success may come in different forms now, the love of the sport of Triathlon will never waver for Ahrens.
"Although my athletic career has been put on hold for a couple years, there is not going to be a single day where I won't be swimming, biking or running."
HOW TO FOLLOW
For the latest updates and information on the Sun Devil Triathlon program, follow our Twitter/Instagram accounts (@SunDevilTri), like our Facebook page (facebook.com/sundeviltri), and visit our website (thesundevils.com). For more information on the NCAA Woman of the Year award, visit their homepage.