UMass track star Kira Kopec chosen as A-10 NCAA Women of the Year nominee

Staff Writer
Published: 7/26/2022 6:00:43 PM

Kira Kopec joined one of UMass’ most exclusive clubs Monday.

The Class of 2022 women’s track and field athlete was named one of two Atlantic 10 nominees for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She’s just the second Minutewoman to receive the conference’s nomination, joining Olympian Heather MacLean in 2018.  Davidson's Siena Senn was the other A-10 athlete selected by the league’s Senior Woman Administrators from 13 nominees.

Kopec competed for UMass for five years and helped win two Atlantic 10 outdoor championships and a New England outdoor championship. She won five A-10 medals and four at the New England championships. The Brooks, Alberta, native set the UMass and A-10 record in the pentathlon with 3,952 points and won the 2022 A-10 indoor title. She added a silver in the 2022 outdoor A-10 heptathlon. Kopec was also on UMass’ record-breaking, gold medal-winning 4x400-meter relay at the 2022 Outdoor New England championships.

She was named a team captain and earned Dean’s List honors eight times, making the 2020 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team. Kopec was a member of the Chi Sigma honor society and received an A-10 postgraduate scholarship in 2022 after making the A-10 All-Academic team.

She served as president of the International Student Athlete Association at UMass and was a track and field group teacher for a local elementary school youth clinic. Kopec assisted in medial administration of Transcranial Magnetic Therapy in depressive patients during an internship and was a teaching assistant and academic aide in the UMass Microbiology department. She earned her undergraduate degree in microbiology and minored in psychology, hoping to become a dermatologist.

The candidates were selected based on academics, athletic achievements, leadership and community service. Nine sports and 12 A-10 institutions were represented.

Conference nominees are then sent to the Woman of the Year selection committee, which will chose a top 10 from each NCAA division. Three finalists from each division will then be selected, and the Committee on Women’s Athletics will vote on the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year from those nine finalists this fall.

GETTING BUFFS – Frank Martin won’t shy away from Power 5 competition in his first year leading the UMass men’s basketball program.

The Minutemen will participate in the Myrtle Beach Invitational from Nov. 17-20. They open against the University of Colorado, a Pac-12 school, on Nov. 17 at 1:30 p.m. broadcast on ESPNU.

“Boom! What a great opportunity against one heck of a program. Let’s gooooo,” Martin tweeted Tuesday.

Either Murray State or Texas A&M await in their next game. Boise State, Charlotte, newly-minted conference foe Loyola Chicago and Tulsa are on the other side of the bracket.

Every game will be shown on the ESPN family of networks.

WEIR WERE YOU? – Former Hampshire Regional baseball player Max Weir was named a volunteer assistant for the UMass baseball program Tuesday. He works as the Assistant General Manager & Baseball Instructor at Powerhouse Training in East Longmeadow, which features connections to many of Western Mass’ best players.

Weir previously coached at Gardner Webb and AIC. He attended Springfield College after graduating from Hampshire.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.
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