CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Big South Conference announced today the official nominees for the Conference’s Woman of the Year award for 2012-13, with 13 student-athletes from 10 member institutions comprising this year’s candidates.  The Conference’s Woman of the Year award is sponsored by Big South Corporate Partner Musco Sports Lighting. UNC Asheville’s nominee is senior distance runner Emma Bussard.


The Big South’s Woman of the Year Selection Committee will determine two finalists, which will be announced next week, and the overall winner will be announced and presented her award at the Big South’s Awards & Hall of Fame Dinner on Thursday, May 30 at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va.  The Big South Woman of the Year winner is nominated as a candidate for the national NCAA Woman of the Year Award.


Bussard, a 3.73 student in health and wellness promotions and art, has been a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run as well as a homework tutor.  She has been involved with Asheville’s SAAC, including serving as secretary, and has taught a sports nutrition class at a summer running camp for three years.  A team captain for the Bulldogs, Bussard was selected to represent UNC Asheville at the NCAA Division I Leadership Conference in 2009. Emma graduated this past Saturday and earned departmental distinctions in Art, Health & Wellness, as a University Scholar and University Research Scholar.


In addition, Emma earned Big South All-Conference honors in cross country last fall as she finished in third place. It was the highest finish by a Bulldog runner in 10 years.


During track and field season, Bussard won the Big South Conference championship in the 3000 meter steeplechase last month. She set a school and Big South record in winning the event with a time of 10:38.77. Emma earned a spot on the Big South All-Academic team in both cross country and outdoor track and field. She is an Academic All-America nominee.