Charlotte Ahrens is a NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Sun Devil Triathlon's Charlotte Ahrens was selected as one of nine finalists for the prestigious 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, the NCAA announced last week.
"It is an incredible honor and I am thankful to see that the ASU 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 and 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. Following the conference nominee round, 30 student-athletes remained in contention, 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions. Out of the 30 candidates, only nine earned finalist distinction. Ahrens is one of those nine, achieving an incredible feat not only for herself, but also for Sun Devil Triathlon.
— NCAA (@NCAA) October 19, 2020
"In my journey, I have grown in wisdom and knowledge from Germany to USA to ASU to triathlon," Ahrens revealed. "ASU took me to a pinnacle. I feel empowered to become a global leader with global perspectives."
The nine finalists, three women from each NCAA division, were selected for their outstanding achievements in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. The finalists and Top 30 honorees will be celebrated with the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year being announced during a virtual awards show Friday, Nov. 13. The show will be streamed on the NCAA Twitter account and ncaa.org/woty, and it will be streamed by ESPN.
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.
FOUNDATIONAL PIECE OF SUN DEVIL TRIATHLON
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.
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— Sun Devil Triathlon (@sundeviltri) October 16, 2020
"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 Ahrens. "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."
RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME
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.
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— Sun Devil Triathlon (@sundeviltri) October 17, 2020
"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, as a Top-9 finalist 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!"
MORE ABOUT CHARLOTTE
Former Sun Devils triathlete and two-year team captain Charlotte Ahrens was a founding member of the triathlon team. Ahrens contributed to four consecutive team victories at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships and earned second-place individual finishes in 2017 and 2018. The two-time College Triathlon Coaches Association Division I All-American also represented Germany in international competition.
Ahrens graduated summa cum laude, was a two-time CTCA Scholar All-American, and earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She also was a four-year member of the Beta Gamma Sigma international honor society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
In 2020, Ahrens participated in Arizona State's inaugural Women in Supply Chain symposium, focused on the future of women in male-dominated industries. She will get to apply her Supply Chain Management degree in her next venture, as she recently started a job with Mercedes-Benz in the Netherlands.
Ahrens represented the triathlon team for four years on the university's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and served for two years on the Elite Student-Athlete Advisory Group, focusing on issues of student-athlete nutrition, mental health and excellence.
Throughout college, she volunteered with The Clothesline Project to raise awareness on domestic violence issues, served as a volunteer coach for National Girls & Women in Sports Day, and spoke to high school students about her experiences as an international student-athlete.
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.