Kelly Barnhill, a sophomore pitcher from the University of Florida, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Softball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 41 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Barnhill becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2017 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on June 26, 2017, in downtown Los Angeles.
Barnhill was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists Megan Good (James Madison), Sarah Goenewegen (Minnesota) and DJ Sanders (Louisiana Lafayette).
““I am so honored to receive the Honda Award,” said Barnhill. “There were so many great performances by so many athletes in our sport this year and to be chosen is so amazing. I would not have been able to achieve what I did this season without the guidance and support of my teammates and coaches.”
Hailing from Marietta, Ga., Barnhill was named the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, espnW Player of the Year and SEC Pitcher of the Year. She was an All-SEC first-team member and was a five-time SEC Pitcher of the Week and three-time national pitcher/player of the week before leading her team to the 2017 Women’s College World Series finals. She earned CoSIDA Academic first-team All-America honors.
The right hander led the nation in ERA (0.51) and strikeouts per seven innings (13.0) and finished second nationally in hits allowed per seven innings (2.86) and third in strikeouts (412). She recorded 10 or more strikeouts in 18 of her 38 appearances and her 412 strikeouts rank third most in a Gator single season.
“What an honor!”, stated head coach Tim Walton. “I’m so proud of Kelly and the work she has put in both on and off the field as well as in the classroom. Receiving this award is another testament to just how hard Kelly and the entire team worked this season.”
Three student-athletes from the sport of softball have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup- Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) in 2013, Natasha Watley (UCLA) in 2003 and Lisa Fernandez (UCLA) in 1993. Sierra Romero (Michigan) was a Top Three selection for the Class of 2016.
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.
The CWSA, in its 41st year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.