Olympic Sports

Sami Williams Named to NCAA Woman of the Year Top-30

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.

INDIANAPOLIS – Former Iowa State softball star Sami Williams has advanced to the next stage of the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, as she has been selected to the top 30. There were 10 student-athletes selected from each of the three NCAA divisions.

Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award is rooted in Title IX and recognizes graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their NCAA eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

Selected from 535 school nominees — a group that was then narrowed to 154 nominees by conference offices — the Top 30 honorees include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions. All have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. The honorees represent 12 sports and an array of academic majors, including biology, psychology, mechanical engineering, education, software engineering and anthropology. Williams is one of two softball players among the top 30 and the only from the NCAA Division I level.

“We are thrilled to recognize the 30 honorees selected this year,” said John Kietzmann, chair of the selection committee and associate director of athletics for marketing at Metropolitan State University of Denver. “These women excelled in the classroom and competition, while still prioritizing serving their peers and communities despite the challenges they faced during the pandemic. They represent the thousands of women competing in college sports each year, and we congratulate them for their incredible achievements.” 

Williams capped her career as one of the greatest players in Iowa State history. She put together a staggering statistical season in 2021, while leading the Cyclone program to new heights. Williams broke single-season program records for batting average (.446) and home runs (21) on the year with 54 RBI and an incredible .902 slugging percentage.

The native of Laguna Niguel, California, is departing Iowa State as the school’s all-time leader in hits (329), doubles (79), home runs (67), RBI (180), runs scored (212), at-bats (833) and games played (253). Williams is also the Big 12’s all-time leader in career hits, doubles and total bases (627). Her 79 career doubles are tied for third-most in NCAA DI softball history. Her 627 total bases are fourth-most in NCAA history.
Williams is ISU’s all-time winningest player, having appeared in 128 victories during her time in the Cardinal & Gold. In 2021, she helped Iowa State earn the program’s first top-25 ranking in the NFCA Coaches’ poll on Feb. 23 following a 9-1 start to the season. She then led ISU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988, and first NCAA Regional Final appearance.

Off the field, Williams was a finalist for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award, and was one of five student-athletes nationally to be named a Senior CLASS Award Softball First Team All-American. She is also a four-time CoSIDA Academic All-American – the first student-athlete in the history of Iowa State Athletics to earn the honor four times.

The selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division from the Top 30, and the nine finalists will be announced this fall. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will choose the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 9, during a virtual awards ceremony, the Top 30 honorees will be celebrated, and the NCAA Woman of the Year will be named.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.