Lincoln - Gina Mancuso notched another national honor on Thursday as she was selected as the 2012 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I volleyball.
Mancuso, an outside hitter from Omaha, Neb., was chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans. The award is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
She is Nebraska's second winner of the award, as All-America women's basketball player Kelsey Griffin earned the honor in 2010.
"It is an honor to be named the winner of the Senior CLASS Award," Mancuso said. "It is a blessing and is a reflection of all the people who have had an influence on my life and have supported me along the way, including my family, friends, coaches, teammates and teachers. I would also like to thank all the fans around the country who showed their support by voting for me."
A marketing major at Nebraska, Mancuso was named a 2012 CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American and has been a two-time member of the Academic All-Big Ten Team and was honored with an Academic All-Big 12 selection in 2010. A two-year member of the school's student-athlete advisory committee, she most recently served as its community outreach officer. Mancuso is a member of the Husker Connect mentoring program and is a motivational speaker for a local foster care camps. She has also been an active volunteer in Nebraska's hospital visits.
"Gina is not only an outstanding volleyball player, but a great person. She understands that there is more to life than volleyball," Nebraska head coach John Cook said. "She is a standout student and has spent numerous hours giving back to the community. She has led our volleyball team this year and is deserving of this prestigious award."
Mancuso is a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American and was a unanimous All-Big Ten team selection as a junior and senior. She led the Huskers with 428 kills (a 3.48 kill per set average) and 34 service aces this year.
"Gina is a great example of a high school superstar who waited patiently for her time to shine in college," said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. "With Nebraska's great history of outstanding volleyball players, Gina had to earn her playing time. When she got her turn, she made the most of it by becoming another Husker volleyball legend."
Alaina Bergsma, Oregon
Ashley Frazier, Kentucky
Rachel Iaquaniello, Eastern Michigan
Gina Mancuso, Nebraska
Ariel Turner, Purdue
Dana Cranston, Colorado State
Altrese Hawkins, Memphis
Rachael Kidder, UCLA
Rachel Krabacher, Dayton
Sam Serley, UAB