June 14, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Recent Naval Academy graduate Jess Palacio (Sun Valley, Nev.) has been named one of two Patriot League candidates for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The Naval Academy recently submitted Palacio as its institutional candidate and the Patriot League selected Palacio, and Colgate's Elise DeRoo, as its two conference nominees.
The Patriot League's Senior Woman Administrators chose Palacio and DeRoo as nominees due to their excellence in the four areas of importance for the NCAA Woman of the Year award: service, leadership, athletics and academics.
Palacio is one of Navy's most decorated track and field/cross country athletes.
Palacio opened her senior year by capturing the individual title at the 2011 Patriot League Cross Country Championships while collecting her third first-team All-League honor. She would go on to compete in the NCAA Women's Cross Country Championship.
Palacio's greatest athletic success came in track and field, specifically in the mid-distance events. She owns five individual school records and three relay records and was named the Outstanding Female Track Athlete of the Patriot League Championships four times, including three straight years from 2010-12 at the outdoor meet and once at the indoor championships (2011). She has dominated the middle distance events at the championships the last three years, winning three consecutive titles in the 800- and 1,500-meter runs at the outdoor meet.
Palacio earned second-team All-America honors in the indoor mile, while qualifying three times for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field East Regional to go along with four ECAC All-East honors.
Palacio, who graduated with a degree in political science and international relations, served two and a half years in the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Corporal (E-4), before enrolling in Annapolis. She was awarded the Navy-Marine Achievement medal in 2006, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps when she graduated in May. She was also the winner of the Naval Academy's Vice Admiral Lawrence Sword for Women.
During her senior year, Palacio served as a mentor to a specific Midshipmen who had an interest in serving in the Marine Corps and will continue that relationship now that she's graduated. In 2011 she and the Navy cross country team conducted a community service event with the Annapolis Mighty Milers.
The Woman of the Year selection committee will review all nominations and narrow down the field to 10 NCAA student-athletes from each of the three divisions. From there, the committee will select the top three in each division before determining the NCAA Woman of the Year. The committee will announce the winner in October in Indianapolis, Ind., where the top 10 from each division will be recognized.