Kenyon's Crawford Named Pam Smith Award Winner

Recent Kenyon graduate Ellie Crawford
Recent Kenyon graduate Ellie Crawford

Recent Kenyon College graduate and women's swimmer Ellie Crawford (Las Vegas, NV/Meadows Schools) has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 North Coast Athletic Conference Pam Smith Award.

Crawford capped off her swimming career at Kenyon with four NCAA All-America certificates, highlighted by an eighth-place finish in the 200 breast at the 2015 NCAA Championships. She has played an integral role in leading the Ladies to four-straight top-five finishes in the team standings at the national meet, led by a pair of second-place finishes in 2014 and 2016. Crawford also played a key role on the Ladies' 2016 NCAC championship squad that snapped Denison's seven-year run as league champs. The 2016-17 CoSIDA At-Large Academic All-American selection was also the recipient of the Kenyon Athletics 2017 Woman of the Year Award as well as Kenyon's Swimming & Diving 2017 Stephen E. Bennett Award. 

Crawford graduated summa cum laude from Kenyon this spring as a physics major with a 3.96 grade-point-average and plans to continue her academic career with one of the NCAA's prestigious postgraduate scholarships. She was a 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient and was also named the school's female winner of the 2017 NCAC Scholar-Athlete award. Crawford was a four-time CSCAA Scholar All-American and a three-time member of the NCAC Academic Honor Roll. Crawford, who received Kenyon's Elbe H. Johnson Prize in Physics in 2014, is also a member of numerous different honor societies, including Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Pi Sigma and Pi Mu Epsilon. She was also the recipient of numerous different academic scholarships throughout her career, including the Southland Industries Scholarship in 2014, the Kenyon Science Scholarship in 2014 and the National Merit Scholarship in 2013. 

While Crawford shined in the classroom and in the pool throughout her collegiate career, she was just as active on the Kenyon campus and in the local community through numerous service and leadership roles. She was an active participant on campus in Be: Kenyon, Relay for Life, the "Walk to End Alzheimer's" and Women in Sports Day, while also volunteering at the Salvation Army for the Angel Tree project that provides Christmas gifts to local children living in poverty. Crawford also volunteered her time in several different tutoring roles both on campus and in the community, including tutoring at-risk elementary school students in Toledo, Ohio, and working with middle school students in the Knox County community. On campus, she was an upper-class counselor in Kenyon's first-year orientation program, a linear algebra tutor in the math department and served as a TA for an introductory physics lab. In addition, Crawford took part in many different independent study research projects throughout her career, both at Kenyon and at the University of Michigan.  

Crawford was one of six outstanding nominees considered by the selection committee. The other candidates included: 

The NCAC Woman of the Year Award commemorates former Wittenberg women’s basketball Head Coach and Associate Director of Athletics Pam Evans Smith, who had a profound impact upon the athletes she coached and the students she taught over an illustrious career that spanned more than two decades. She was the architect of the women’s basketball program with the most wins and highest winning percentage in NCAC history through 2007. A 1999 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Smith earned seven NCAC Coach of the Year awards and compiled a 401-170 record after taking the reins of a struggling program prior to the 1986-87 season. She led the Tigers to eight NCAA Division III tournament appearances, twelve 20-win seasons, and 11 NCAC regular season championships. 

As the NCAC winner, Crawford will be nominated, along with Denison's Jordan Holmes (Pittsburg, PA/Mt. Lebanon), for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious honors the NCAA bestows. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the areas of academic achievement, athletics excellence, service, and leadership. Each NCAA conference, and independent institutions, can nominate one distinguished female student-athlete for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) will meet in August to select the top 10 winners in each division. In September, the selection committee will then evaluate the 30 honorees and choose the top three in each division. Finally, the members of the CWA will vote from among the top nine finalists to determine the Woman of the Year. The top 30 honorees and the nine finalists from Divisions I, II and III will be honored and the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis on October 22, 2017.

NCAC Pam Smith Award Winners

2017 - Ellie Crawford, Kenyon
2016 - Haley Townsend, Kenyon
2015 - Maggie MacPhail, DePauw
2014 - Paige Gooch, DePauw
2013 - Leah Sack, Kenyon
2012 - Alisa Vereshchagin, Kenyon
2011 - Katie Navarre, Denison
2010 - Sarah Shinn, Ohio Wesleyan
2009 - Tracy Menzel, Kenyon
2008 - Erin Gorsich, Denison