Kenyon's Wilson Named Pam Smith Award Winner

Kenyon's Wilson Named Pam Smith Award Winner

Recent Kenyon College graduate and women's swimmer Julia Wilson (Bethesda, MD.Sidwell Frields) has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Pam Smith Award.

Wilson’s swimming career at Kenyon included 16 All-America awards with 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.

Aside from success in swimming and studies, Wilson found time to volunteer at the Salvation Army and at East Knox Elementary School.  She took on fundraising duties for the Alzheimer Association and for Relay for Life. She also did volunteer work during Kenyon’s annual Girls and Women’s in Sports Day and served as a volunteer research assistant at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Back in the classroom, Wilson was a tutor in Kenyon’s Math and Science Skills Center and a mentor in Kenyon’s STEM program for first-year females.

Wilson 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, Wilson will be nominated, along with former Kenyon classmate Shannon Hart (Mandara, Harare, Zimbabwe/Hellenic Academy), 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 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year winner announced at a dinner at the Westin Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018.

NCAC Pam Smith Award Winners

2018 - Julia Wilson, Kenyon
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