Keturah Orji, who has been nominated for the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association Woman of the Year award, competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics ©Getty Images

Nine former college athletes have been named as finalists for the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Woman of the Year award.

Three athletes have been named from each NCAA division.

A record 581 college athletes were nominated for the award handed out by the North American organisation. 

The finalists were picked for not only demonstrating excellence in athletics, but also in academia, community service and leadership.

In Division III, Amelia Wilhelm, Kayla Leland and Ade Ayoola have been nominated for the award.

Wilhelm, from Bates College, was part of the team that won three NCAA Division III Rowing Championships and three New England Small College Athletic Conference championships. 

Leland, of Whitworth University, is a 10-time Northwest Conference champion in six track and field events. 

She holds 13 school records in a variety of track events, as well as two Northwest Conference records in the 3,000 metres steeplechase and 10,000m.

The University of Chicago's Ayoola, who competes in indoor and outdoor track and field, won an outdoor conference title in 2017 for high jump and two team indoor conference championships in 2015 and 2018.

In Division II, Delaney Hiegert, Kami Norton and Trissy Fairweather have been named as finalists. 

Hiegert, from Newman University, earned second team all-conference honours in softball in her senior year, and helped her team qualify twice for the Heartland Conference tournament.

Angelo State University's Norton won two individual NCAA Division II championships in 2018.

This was in the heptathlon in outdoor track and field and the pentathlon in indoor track and field.

Fairweather of Claflin University was the Division II national champion in the 200m in 2016 and was twice named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women's Track Athlete of the Year in 2015 and 2016.

Keturah Orji, Sidney Peters and Vanessa Shippy have been shortlisted from Division III.

Orji, from the University of Georgia, competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the triple jump, and is an eight-time NCAA individual national champion.

Peters, from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is a ice hockey goaltender and helped Minnesota become NCAA national champions in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season championship in 2015 and the tournament championship in 2018.

Shippy, a softball player, has been a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American three times, and has been twice recognised as the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in 2018 and as co-player of the year in 2016.

The Woman of the Year is due to be awarded on October 28 in Indianapolis.