Western Kentucky catcher Kendall Smith has been named one of 30 NCAA Division I softball candidates for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award.
The Bowling Green native is the second student-athlete in WKU softball program history in as many seasons to be named a candidate and is the lone honoree from Conference USA this season.
“Big congratulations to Kendall on a well-deserved honor,” WKU coach Amy Tudor said in a news release. “She has put up some impressive numbers both offensively and defensively and still has two years to continue to grow. While her achievements on the field earn most of the attention, we’re most proud of what she does off the dirt.”
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Smith is a sport management major at WKU and is on track to graduate in May 2021 with her bachelor’s degree. She’s earned a spot on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll three times and landed a C-USA Academic Medal distinction as a freshman while also posting five semesters between the WKU Dean’s and President’s Lists.
In the community, Smith has found many ways to make her mark. As a part of the WKU softball team, Smith has visited elementary schools to read to students in addition to participating in an annual Southern Kentucky Special Olympics Softball game. She’s also a member of FCA and involved with the local softball teams between helping coach a travel team and giving lessons.
Across her first three seasons at WKU, Smith has tallied a .293 batting average, .546 slugging percentage, .392 on-base rate and .994 fielding mark. She’s started all 129 games of her career, racking up 104 hits and scoring 79 runs to go along with 90 RBIs. Smith owns 22 doubles, one triple and 22 career home runs in addition to drawing 56 walks and stealing 11 bases. She’s added eight sacrifice flies and five sacrifice hits as well.
Smith was named to the 2019 Conference USA First Team All-Conference Team and earned Third Team NFCA All-Region honors. In 2020 and 2021, she was a Preseason All-Conference USA Team selection.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
2021 Senior CLASS Award Candidates
Sis Bates, University of Washington
AnaMarie Bruni, University of South Florida
Danielle Castleberry, Mercer University
Teaghan Cowles, Stanford University
Mia Davidson, Mississippi State University
Amber Fiser, University of Minnesota
Sydney Fisher, Radford University
Julia Fritz, East Tennessee State University
Darian Frost, Missouri State University
Rachel Garcia, University of California, LA
Kristin Hallam, Hofstra University
Jessie Harper, University of Arizona
Alexis Holloway, University of Notre Dame
Andrea Howard, University of New Mexico
Kristina Inouye, Stanford University
Karlee Johnson, Boise State University
Cayla Kessinger, University of Missouri
Jennifer Leonhardt, University of Louisville
Kendyl Lindaman, University of Florida
Goose McGlaun, Baylor University
Maddie McMahon, Siena College
Liz Murphy, University of Detroit Mercy
Bubba Nickles, University of California, LA
Makenna Partain, University of Minnesota
Kendall Smith, Western Kentucky University
Nicole Timmons, Drake University
Kelly Warren, East Tennessee State University
Kayla Wedl, University of Illinois at Chicago
Alea White, University of Central Florida
Sami Williams, Iowa State University