Smith named Senior CLASS Award candidate

Kendall Smith 2021 headshot.

Jake Moore

WKU redshirt junior catcher Kendall Smith has been tabbed as one of the 30 NCAA Division I softball candidates eligible for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award. The Bowling Green native is the second Hilltopper in as many seasons to be nominated for the award and is the only nominee from the Conference USA.

“Big congratulations to Kendall on a well-deserved honor,” head coach Amy Tudor said. “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.”

In order to be eligible to receive such an award, a student-athlete has to be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and must have notable achievements in four areas: community, classroom, character, and competition. 

The CLASS award acronym stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, and the award is given to student athletes who use their athletics platform to bring about positive change in their communities.

Smith is currently a sport management major at WKU and is on track to graduate in May with her bachelor’s degree. She has found herself on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll three times and also earned a C-USA Academic Medal as a freshman along with appearing on the WKU President’s and Dean’s Lists five times.

Smith has made an impact on her community by visiting local elementary schools to read to children as well as participating in an annual Southern Kentucky Special Olympics Softball game. Smith is also a member of the FCA and is involved with local softball teams by giving lessons and offering coaching assistance.

On the field through her first three seasons as a Hilltopper Smith has compiled a .293 batting average, slugged .546, and holds a .392 on-base percentage. She has started all 129 games of her career and has racked up 104 hits, 90 RBI, 22 doubles, 22 home runs and 11 stolen bases. Smith was named to the 2019 Conference USA First Team All-Conference Team and also earned Third Team NFCA All-Region Honors. Smith was named to the Preseason All-Conference USA Team in both 2020 and 2021.

The 30 nominees for the award will be narrowed to 10 during the course of the season, and those 10 remaining candidates will be put on a ballot to be given to media, fans and coaches nationwide to decide which student-athlete embodies the CLASS values the most.

Softball beat reporter Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.