RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Softball student-athlete Mia Montoya (Las Vegas, Nev./John F. Kennedy [Calif.]) has been named Felician University's recipient of the 2019 New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) Woman of the Year Award.
Montoya was among the guests of honor on Sunday, Feb. 3, at the 33rd annual New Jersey statewide celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), run in conjunction with the NJAIAW and NJSIAA. The theme of this year's awards luncheon was "Lead Her Forward. Following the luncheon, held at Seton Hall University in South Orange, each winner was recognized again at halftime of the Pirates' women's basketball game against Butler University.
Award winners are chosen by their institution's athletics department based upon athletic excellence, academic success and citizenship/community service. Each high school and junior and senior college in the state was invited to submit an awardee via the NJSIAA or NJAIAW.
Montoya is a senior who was raised in Cypress, Calif. She owns a 3.50 cumulative grade-point average as a double-major in elementary education and English. She is a two-time winner of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award from the periodical Diverse Issues in Higher Education and a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma college athlete honor society.
Montoya is the Felician softball team's liaison with Team IMPACT, and last season helped coordinate the "signing" of a local 10-year-old cancer survivor. She has participated on "midnight runs" with the University's campus ministry to minister to New York City's homeless population and has served as a volunteer softball coach in her adopted hometown of Las Vegas, Nev. Montoya is a 2015 graduate of Kennedy High of La Palma, Calif.
"Mia is an exemplary student-athlete," said third-year Felician softball coach Alexis Durando. "She truly fits this year's 'Lead Her Forward' theme by being an ambassador for Felician University and for our program. I'm very proud of her leadership and initiative to serve her school and softball community."
Competitively, Montoya is entering her fourth year as a starter. Primarily a first baseman, she has also seen time at catcher and third base. She earned Second-Team All-CACC honors in 2017 and is already among Felician's all-time top 10 in runs scored (76), doubles (26), home runs (11), and runs batted in (63). She has helped lead the Golden Falcons to the CACC playoffs in all three of her seasons.
NGWSD celebrates the athletic achievements of women and the positive well-being associated with sports participation while also recognizing the continuing struggle for equality for women in sports. Wednesday will be the 33rd anniversary of the chartering of NGWSD by Congress.
Felician University, the Franciscan University of New Jersey, is a liberal arts, coeducational Catholic university founded in 1942 and sponsored by the Felician Sisters. True to its mission, Felician University welcomes a diverse student population and embraces its educational needs. With campuses in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey, Felician University currently enrolls more than 2,400 students and offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate programs, in the classroom and online, in the arts and sciences, business and management sciences, health sciences and teacher education. Felician University also sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level.