When all the West Virginia Conference’s women’s basketball coaches got together to select the league’s most outstanding player, they didn’t have to go any further than the young student-athlete who wears No. 1 for Fairmont State University.

Junior guard Kaitlin Snyder has received most of the top honors handed out by the WVIAC this season and it only seemed natural that she would be selected the top player in the league as well.

Snyder is one of those special treasures that coaches come up with every 20 years or so — an athlete who is as sound on the basketball court as she is in the classroom.

Coach Steve McDonald realizes just how valuable Snyder is to the Fairmont State program and describes her as “a very special person.”

But he could go on and on about Snyder if you let him.

“She’s a great student,” he says. “And she’s an awfully good basketball player. She is certainly one of the best players in the league, and quite frankly, I think she is one of the better players in the country.”

One of the better players in the country. But you’re not reading it here first. McDonald has been saying that for a long time.

He’s been saying that because it is true.

Snyder is the third player in Fairmont State basketball history to be named the league’s top player. Vonda Shaw captured the award in 1988 during the early days of the West Virginia Conference. And Kristen Gattuso received the honor in 2005.

The one honor that many Falcon fans will select as the most important was that Snyder was named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All America NCAA Division II second team basketball squad as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She is the first Fairmont State woman to earn Academic All-America recognition since the school moved to NCAA Division II and the first to win that honor since 1995.

Snyder, a junior guard from Sissonville, was accepted into the highly competitive Fairmont State nursing program last spring.

“Fairmont State has a very prestigious nursing program,” she says. “There were 1,000 applications and only 100 were accepted. I’m very fortunate and grateful to be in such a great program.”

Fairmont State’s women’s basketball team is quite fortunate as well as grateful for having Kaitlin Snyder as a part of the squad that is seeking the West Virginia Conference championship in Charleston this week. That No. 1 on her jersey stands for a lot of factors — all of them extremely positive ones.

The Times West Virginian wishes Kaitlin Snyder and her Lady Falcon teammates the best of luck in Charleston this week.

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