Hoboken, NJ- Two-sport national champion Laura Barito of Stevens Institute of Technology was named the 2011 Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey’s Female Student-Athlete of the Year, the organization announced at its annual awards luncheon on Thursday morning. Barito graduated from Stevens in 2011 with a 3.85 grade point average in mechanical engineering and was a national champion in both the NCAA swimming 50-yard freestyle and the NCAA track 400-meter hurdles in her senior season.
“Coming from Arkansas, New Jersey quickly became my new home and I have been honored to represent Stevens and New Jersey in everything that I have done for the last four years,” said Barito on Thursday. “This award is such an unexpected honor and I'm very thankful for all the individuals that helped guide me to where I am today.”
Barito has been highly decorated in her collegiate career, being named a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American the past two seasons and earning College Swim Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America honors in each of the past three years.
Barito is the first national champion individual or team in Stevens school history. In March, she won the 50-yard freestyle NCAA National Championship as the No. 4 seed in the final heat in a school-record 22.87 seconds. In total, she earned a remarkable 18 Swimming All-American honors during her career in relays and individual events.
This past season, Barito led the swimming team to a sixth-place finish at the 2011 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, the highest-ever appearance for the Ducks. As a team they earned 22 All-America nods and broke nine school-records at the year’s final meet.
In the spring she transformed herself into a national contender in the hurdles, steadily climbing through the best 400-meter hurdle times in the nation before knocking off an astounding 1.68 seconds from her previous personal-best time to finish the NCAA Championship heat in 59.49 seconds – the only Division III female in the country to finish the race under one minute in any meet, at any venue, at any time in 2011.
Barito’s performance single-handedly earned the Ducks a 19th-place finish in the final 2011 NCAA track and field standings, the highest finish ever for that Stevens team. Barito’s record-setting run also earned her the first Stevens track and field All-American award in school history.
“Laura has, without question, established herself as one of the very best student-athletes at the NCAA Division III level,” said Stevens Director of Athletics Russell Rogers. “Her work ethic and determination to succeed as a swimmer, track and field athlete, and in the classroom are unmatched. As Stevens’ first NCAA national champion, she carved a place in our record books forever. Laura has earned every accolade that has come her way and set the bar of success at Stevens to an unprecedented level.”
Barito won 12 Empire 8 titles in swimming in addition to a 2011 track and field conference championship. She set eight league records, and was named both the Empire 8’s 2011 Swimmer of the Year and 2011 Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. Barito was also honored as the 2011 Empire 8 Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
At Stevens, Barito ended her career as the owner of over one dozen school records between her two sports and won the Irvin “Buzz” Seymour award as the best female athlete on campus for the past two years. She won the Stevens Senior Athlete Award in 2011 and was a four-time team most valuable player.
“Through hard work and discipline, Laura has transformed herself into one of the elite athletes in the country, while excelling both in the classroom and in the community,” said Stevens’ Head Swimming Coach Trevor Miele.
Barito is also currently one of nine finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. That winner will be announced at an October 16 ceremony in Indianapolis.
Fellow 2011 graduate Zach Carr received the male student-athlete of the year award at the same event and Stevens also took home the Division III CAANJ Cup for the first time as the Ducks swept the awards ceremony.
Founded in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University™, lives at the intersection of industry, academics and research. The University's students, faculty and partners leverage their collective real-world experience and culture of innovation, research and entrepreneurship to confront global challenges in engineering, science, systems and technology management.
Based in Hoboken, N.J. and with a location in Washington, D.C., Stevens offers accredited baccalaureate, masters, certificates and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences and management, in addition to baccalaureate degrees in business and liberal arts. Stevens has been recognized by both the US Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Excellence in the areas of systems engineering and port security research. The University has a total enrollment of more than 2,350 undergraduate, 3,600 graduate students and almost 450 faculty members. Stevens’ graduate programs have attracted international participation from China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America as well as strategic partnerships with industry leaders, governments and other universities around the world. Additional information may be obtained at www.stevens.edu and www.stevens.edu/news.