ROCK HILL, S.C. --- Tusculum University distance runner Nicole McMillen has been named the 2019 South Atlantic Conference Women's Track & Field Scholar Athlete of the Year.
The SAC Scholar Athlete of the Year award is presented annually to one student-athlete in each of the conference's championship sports and is selected by the league's faculty athletic representatives committee. Winners are selected based on their achievements in academics and athletics.
McMillen becomes the first student-athlete in the track & field program's young history to earn SAC Scholar Athlete laurels.
The Pickering, Ontario, Canada native graduated from Tusculum last Saturday with a degree in business management, posting a 3.92 cumulative grade point average. She has been named to the SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, Tusculum Athletic Director's Honor Roll, Dean's List, President's List, Charles Oliver Gray Honors List and is a member of the Alpha Chi Honors Society.
The multi-sport athlete has competed in track & field for two seasons, while also being a member of the Tusculum women's soccer and cross country teams. McMillen was named the 2019 SAC Women's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Meet after earning gold in three events: 3,000 meter steeplechase, 1,500 meter, and 5,000 meter runs.
"Nicole is a special young lady who continuously works hard to compete at a high level in the South Atlantic Conference, while being an outstanding academic scholar at Tusculum University," said Pioneer head coach Lionel Nau. "She is an exemplary student-athlete who represents our team with great leadership. She sums up how one can deliver success in both academics and athletics by continuously challenging herself."
Her first place mark in the steeplechase was the first time a Tusculum female student-athlete garnered a gold medal finish at the SAC Outdoor Championship. She was also the top finisher in the mile at the 2019 SAC Indoor Championship.
She earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors in the steeplechase, 1,500 meter and 5,000 meter runs, and she will compete in the 2019 NCAA Division II Women's Outdoor Track & Field National Championship in the steeplechase on May 23-25 in Kingsville, Texas.
During her four seasons on the TU women's soccer team, she started in 68 matches as a defender where she amassed one goal and 12 assists. During her senior campaign, she led the Pioneers with eight assists which were tied for the second-most in the conference and 47th in the nation. She helped Tusculum to an 8-7-3 record and a sixth place showing in the league standings.
When she completed her soccer career, she transitioned to the cross country team in time to compete at the SAC Championships where she finished fifth in her inaugural collegiate meet and earn All-SAC first team honors. She also placed fifth at the NCAA II Southeast Region Championship and punched her ticket to the NCAA Nationals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There she finished 59th which is the top national championship finish by a Tusculum cross country runner.
She was named to the 2018 Google Cloud Women's Soccer Academic All-America® second team as well as the United Soccer Coaches All-South Region Scholar Team. She is a member of the 2018 USTFCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team and has earned spots on the Academic All-District first team for both women's soccer and cross country/track & field.
Last week she was tabbed the 2018-2019 Tusculum University Female Athlete of the Year.