DENVER- The 2013 calendar year is starting off on a great note for University of Colorado senior Shalaya Kipp as she was named the 2012 College Women's Athlete-of-the-Year as selected by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, announced on Tuesday afternoon.
The Salt Lake City, Utah, native had a 2012 to remember, winning the Pac-12 and NCAA 3,000-meter steeplechase titles and qualifying for the Olympic Games in London. Kipp became just the fourth current CU athlete with eligibility remaining to advance to an Olympics. She also had an excellent cross country season, earning her third straight All-American honor this past fall.
Kipp did not lose a single collegiate race in the steeplechase in 2012. In her first race at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford, Kipp clocked the fastest collegiate time of the season (9:43.09) to win the elite section. At the Pac-12 Championships, she became the first Buff to win any individual Pac-12 crown when she crossed the finish line of the steeplechase in 9:57.39. The following day she placed fifth in the 5,000-meter run (16:23.32) to add to the Buffs score.
Kipp dominated the NCAA West Preliminary Championships, winning in 9:58.38 to advance to the NCAA Championships. She easily sailed through the prelims and was tested in the finals, just besting Florida's Genevieve LaCaze at the finish in 9:49.02 to become the third different Buff in seven years to win the title. (CU has won the steeplechase crown in five of the last seven years.) Kipp was also honored as the USTFCCCA Female Mountain Region Track Athlete of the Year for her performances.
The year didn't end for her after NCAAs; she had other aspirations for the year which included qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team. At the end of June at the U.S. Track and Field Team Trials, Kipp realized the dream when she crossed the finish third behind CU teammate Emma Coburn and future U.S. teammate Bridget Franek with a personal best of 9:35.73. At the Olympics, she finished the semis in 9:48.33 to complete her track season.
It was a quick turnaround for the standout runner, switching gears to the cross country course less than two months later. Kipp led the Buffs in the four varsity races she ran, which included a runner-up finish at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships. She concluded the year with an 18th-place finish at nationals and became just the fourth CU female to earn All-American status three times. During the season, she also earned All-Pac-12 Second Team and All-NCAA Mountain Region honors.
With the honor, Kipp becomes just the fourth CU female to earn the award since its inception in 1993. Shelley Sheetz (basketball) was honored in 1993 and '95. Kara Grgas-Wheeler, now Goucher, won in 2000. Jenny (Barringer) Simpson was a two-time selection, winning in 2008 and '09.
Kipp still has a year of eligibility for the Buffs in cross country and track & field. She ranks third on CU's steeplechase performers list behind two other Olympians (Simpson and Coburn). On the track, she has recorded three All-American honors in the steeplechase and has won numerous CU Athlete of the Week awards.
She will be honored with the other five Athletes-of-the-Year at the 2013 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame banquet at the Denver Marriott City Center Hotel on Tuesday, April 18. For more information on the induction banquet, go to www.coloradosports.org.