The NCAC is proud to announce that two of the 199 Division III female student-athletes nominated for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year Award include recent Kenyon graduates Shannon Hart (Mandara, Harare, Zimbabwe/Hellenic Academy) and Julia Wilson (Bethesda, MD/Sidwell Frields).
Hart, an All-American for the Kenyon Ladies field hockey team, piled up career statistics that included 30 goals, 11 assists and 71 points in 82 games played. Both her goal and point totals rank among Kenyon’s top-10 all-time best.
She was a four-time All-NCAC player, including three first-team honors, and was voted the 2017 NCAC Midfielder of the Year. She was also a four-time National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) all-region honoree and was tabbed the 2017 NFHCA Great Lakers Region Player of the Year. Her playing career was capped with 2017 All-America honors from both the NFHCA and Synapse Sports. Additionally, she was named Kenyon’s Senior Female Athlete of the Year. During Hart’s four years on the field, the Ladies posted a combined record of 66-17, won three NCAC championships, won two NCAC tournament titles and made a pair of appearances in the NCAA tournament.
A double major in economics and studio art, Hart focused her attention on the recent Zimbabwean currency crises. A year ago, she started the Pine Cone Collective, a small social enterprise aimed at empowering women through sewing. She stayed connected to her homeland through coaching and serving at local schools, as well as volunteering her time with both Miracle Missions and Iris Ministries. On campus, she became involved with the Coalition for Christian Outreach, she helped coordinate student lectureships and, with the help of her teammates, organized a shoe drive to support Zimbabwean children.
Hart wrote her senior paper on the Zimbabwean economy and, for her art thesis, used gallery space to display her memories and thoughts of hyperinflation and government land reform programs. She was the winner of Kenyon’s 2018 Jeffery S. Williams Memorial Award for Integrative Study and the 2018 Robert H. Hallstein Memorial Award for Art. She was a four-time member of the NFHCA National Academic Squad, a mainstay on Kenyon’s Merit List and a three-time member of the NCAC Academic Honor Roll.
Wilson, who was also named the NCAC Pam Smith Award winner, finished her swimming career with 16 All-America awards and a dozen top-five finishes in NCAA Championship races. During this past season's championship in Indianapolis, Indiana, she had five All-America swims, including one with the Ladies' title-winning 400-yard medley relay team. During her four years with the Ladies, Wilson helped the team to a pair of conference championships, as well as a pair of runner-up finishes in NCAA Championship meets.
Wilson is both Kenyon's and the NCAC’s record-holder in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events. She’s a four-time College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American and was recently tabbed, as NCAA Division III’s top vote-getter in the At-Large pool, the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-American of the Year, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
A 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier, Wilson graduated in May with a degree in psychology. Around that same time, she was named winner of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She was a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. At the conclusion of her senior year, Wilson, a team captain, was presented with the team’s Stephen E. Bennett Memorial Award, given annually to the graduating senior who consistently supported the program in devotion to training and competition. Additionally, Wilson was voted a 2018 NCAC Scholar-Athlete and was a three-time member of the NCAC Academic Honor Roll.
As an NCAA Woman of the Year nominees, Hart and Wilson will await word from the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA), which meets in August to select the top 10 winners from each division. This year, a record total of 581 women were nominated across all three Division of the NCAA.
In September, the selection committee will evaluate the 30 semifinalists and choose the top three in each division. From those nine finalists, members of CWA will select the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year.
The Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year will be named at the annual banquet Oct. 28 in Indianapolis.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program has recognized graduating female student-athletes for excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership since its inception in 1991.