RICHARDSON, Texas – Hardin-Simmons graduate and soccer standout Kendell Groom will represent the American Southwest Conference on the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year award ballot.
A record number of 605 women across the all three divisions were nominated for the award. A total of 220 were from Division III. Groom is the sixth student-athlete from Hardin-Simmons and the fourth soccer player from the ASC to be nominated by the conference.
Groom finished her senior season for the Cowgirl soccer team as an ASC Champion for the fourth time. She was named the 2019 ASC Defensive Player of the Year and a D3soccer.com and United Soccer Coaches All-American.
Groom graduated with a 3.88 GPA as an Exercise Science major and was an Academic All-American as well as the ASC Women’s Soccer Distinguished Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior.
Groom is one of four ASC member school nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year. The other are Morgan Arst of East Texas Baptist, Brittany Chetta of Belhaven, and Victoria Pena of UT Dallas.
“I feel blessed beyond anything I’ve imagined just for being a nominee,” said Groom. “Twelve days before the report date of my freshman year of college, my 23-year-old brother died in a tragic drowning accident. My soul was crushed. I did not know how to take the next step forward, and I was desperate for hope and healing. Despite my sorrow at what seemed like the end of the world, this travesty became the force that pushed me and gave me purpose.
“Throughout my four years of college, I used my time to invest in others, giving lessons to young girls who had dreams of being collegiate soccer players. I also hosted my own bible study for two years, and it was open to any female student or athlete in Abilene. My goal is to be a role model for young girls and show them that they can reach any goal, despite the hardships and adversities that the world throws at them.”
“Being a collegiate student-athlete was far more than game days and study sessions. I was given the opportunity to use my leadership role, athletic abilities, and academic successes to speak life into others, and be a mentor to those around me. However, this does not stop at college graduation. I have a burning passion to never allow someone to feel like they cannot make a difference. I want to use every chance I have to remind young women that they are a force, and there is never a wall too high, or adversity too tough, for them.”
“In over 20 years of coaching, Kendell Groom is one of the best people I have ever been around,” said HSU head coach Marcus Wood. “She is caring, unselfish, intelligent, hard-working and the list goes on. It will not surprise me if Kendell Groom wins a Nobel Peace Prize in her lifetime. Her character is very rare. I believe she will choose altruistic motives to spend her considerable talents.
“Kendell was a primary reason why our soccer team was so successful. Her caring for people came across in our team vote for captain. Her teammates noticed her investment in them by unanimously voting her captain for her senior year. Kendell is extremely positive and uplifting. Her character is in the top 1% of all student-athletes I have ever coached.”
Groom was a member of the Hardin-Simmons campus community, volunteering for several community service projects in addition to classwork and soccer activities.
Established in 1991, the NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers. All nominees have exhausted their collegiate eligibility
The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division — from among the conference nominees. The committee then determines the top three nominees from each division and announces the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics chooses from among those nine the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year award recipient.