HANOVER, N.H. - Former Dartmouth runner Alexi Pappas '12 has been selected as one of nine finalists for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year, the organization announced Thursday morning.

In her final year with the Big Green, Pappas earned First Team All-America honors as she finished third at nationals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She won the event at the 2012 Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonals in 9:58.80, beating out the second-place finisher by more than 14 seconds and besting the meet record by nearly 13. Her performances in the steeple in 2012 earned her a spot at the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June.

She was also a member of Dartmouth's record-breaking DMR team that also claimed All-American recognition at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championship Meet in Boise.

"Lexi was the most incredible leader who was both a great example on the track as well as how to carry yourself away from it for our younger athletes," women's cross country head coach Mark Coogan said. "Those positive attributes she exemplified have helped Dartmouth cross country and track & field get back to the top of the Ivy League and beyond in her time here.

"We already miss her enthusiasm, smile and competitive spirit as we begin our fall cross country season."

Pappas' recognition has come as a result not only of her hard work, but also her perseverance and strength in the face of personal struggles that would challenge anyone in their younger years.

In August, it was announced that Pappas was one of the 30 honorees tabbed for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award after the selection committee initially sifted through more than 430 nominations. Now, that field has been narrowed to nine finalists with the former Dartmouth harrier still in the running.

A speaker at this past June's commencement, Pappas graduated from Dartmouth having earned Academic All-Ivy honors in her final season with the Big Green. She is now studying at the University of Oregon, pursuing a master's degree while completing her NCAA eligibility with the Ducks nationally-ranked track & field program.