Former West Virginia University rifle standout Ginny Thrasher has been selected as one of 10 NCAA student-athletes across all sports and all divisions to be honored as the 2020 Today’s Top 10 Award winners, announced by the NCAA on Tuesday.
The award recognizes former student-athletes for their successes in athletics competition, in the classroom and in the community. Recipients completed their athletics eligibility during the 2018-19 academic year and will be recognized at the Honors Celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, California.
The honorees were selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, composed of representatives of NCAA member schools, conferences and distinguished citizens, including past awardees. The NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award has been recognized since 2013, with the ‘Top VIII’ preceding it from 1973-2012.
Thrasher, a 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist, shot for the Mountaineers from 2015-19, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering last May. The Springfield, Virginia, native is the first-ever rifle student-athlete to earn the distinction and the fourth Mountaineer overall. Previous West Virginia recipients include: Jevon Carter (men’s basketball, 2019), Mike Compton (football, 1993) and Oliver Luck (football, 1982).
Thrasher was a four-time recipient of the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association (CRCA) All-Academic Team honoree and three-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 At-Large Team. In 2018, Thrasher was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist. She also was a member of the President’s and Dean’s Lists, as well as the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.
Thrasher spent two years as a member of WVU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She also spoke at 80 events nationally as a representative of shooting sports and gave a talk at the school’s inaugural TEDxWVU event. She was named a Ms. Mountaineer finalist, an honor recognizing the University’s most involved students, and delivered more than 80 additional presentations focused on science, technology, engineering and math throughout the state as an ambassador for the University. She also volunteered at the West Virginia Recovery Center.
Thrasher capped a brilliant four-year Mountaineer career with three All-America first team honors in 2018-19, bringing her career All-America count to 12. She won individual national championships in both smallbore and air rifle in 2016, and she led West Virginia to two team national championships (2016, 2017), two national runner-up finishes (2018, 2019) and four Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) Championships. She also earned five individual conference titles.
The first gold medalist at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (women’s air rifle), Thrasher has competed internationally several times representing the United States. She was the 2016 USA Shooting Athlete of the Year and a 2016 AAU James E. Sullivan Award finalist, as one of the top amateur athletes in any sport. She remains a member of the U.S. National Shooting Team and hopes to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games.
Thrasher joins the following as NCAA Today’s Top 10 award winners: Baylor’s Jimmy Bendeck (tennis), Columbia’s Iman Blow (fencing), Duke’s Virginia Elena Carta (golf), West Chester’s Kaitlin Hatch (field hockey), Augustana’s Kirby Hora (football), Case Western Reserve’s Cassandra Laios (track and field), Kenyon’s Hannah Orbach-Mandel (swimming and diving), Vanderbilt’s Kristin Quah (bowling) and Nebraska’s Anton Stephenson (gymnastics).