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Riverside, Calif. (July 23, 2015) -- Mary Hanson, recently graduated California Baptist University student-athlete, was selected as the Pacific West Conference honoree for the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

The award, now in its 25th year, honors graduating female college athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

Hanson, a double major in electrical and computer engineering and mathematics, helped put the Lancers on the map in their first year as a fully-fledged NCAA Division II (D-II) member after winning the school's first D-II championship. She won the title in the 100-yard backstroke, breaking the all-time record with a time of 52.45 seconds. 

She also broke four CBU records at the D-II Championships -- 50 freestyle (22.92), 100 freestyle (51.07), 100 backstroke (52.45) and 200 backstroke (1:58.47).

"I definitely didn't expect it, but I want to say thanks so much to everyone who encouraged and challenged me. I couldn't have had a better support group," said Hanson. "I'm honored with the recognition."

Hanson graduated summa cum laude and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in applied mathematics at the University of Notre Dame. 

Nominations for conference honors are forwarded to the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee, which chooses the top 10 honorees in each of the three NCAA divisions. The selection committee then determines the top three finalists in each division. Finally, members of the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will select the 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year from the top nine finalists.