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Emma Mandarino competes for the University of Georgia at the equestrian meet against Sweet Briar College at the UGA Equestrian Complex in Bishop, Georgia, on Saturday, February 3, 2018. (Photo/Chamberlain Smith, chamberlainlockett.com)

Emma Mandarino, a member of Georgia’s equestrian team, has been selected as the SEC nominee for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award. 

The award honors graduating female college athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics, service and leadership during their collegiate careers. Three former Georgia athletes have won the NCAA Woman of the Year: track and field athlete Keturah Orji in 2018 and swimmers Kim Black in 2001, Kristy Kowal in 2000 and Lisa Coole in 1997.

Mandarino represents one of 148 student-athletes nominated for the award from a pool of 585 nominees. The top 30 nominees will be named in September and the final nine will be chosen in October. 

Mandarino was nominated to represent Georgia for the NCAA Woman of the Year award back in June. She said she is thrilled to have advanced to become the conference nominee.

“My four years as a student-athlete were driven by hard work and passion ... I had so many wonderful women inspiring me,” Mandarino said in a UGA press release. “From mentors to teammates to coaches, these women were striking and resilient and the reasons behind my success. It's hard to wrap my head around what a privilege it is to represent my school, my sport, my team, and now my conference with this nomination, but I will forever work to honor it and inspire girls to chase their dreams."

The Bedminster, New Jersey, native was the captain of the Bulldogs her junior and senior year and led the team to SEC Championship victories in 2017 and 2018.

Additionally, Mandarino is the eighth leading scorer for Equitation Over Fences in Georgia equestrian history and a five-time UGA Presidential Scholar. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in accounting and will begin her masters of accountancy in the fall.

Georgia equestrian head coach Meghan Boenig said the team is pleased with Mandarino's nomination. 

"Emma is an inspiration to us all and has always been a driver of our collective success," Boenig said. "We are thrilled for her to represent the university in this prestigious award."  

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