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Kendra Stern '11 Named Division III Female Athlete of the Year

Contact: Justin Long

Kendra Stern '11 is the first Amherst student-athlete
to be named Division III Female Athlete of the Year.

AMHERST, MA – The Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced today Kendra Stern ’11 as the recipient of the 2010-11 Honda Award Division III Athlete of the Year, which recognizes the top female student-athlete in the nation. Stern is the first Amherst College student to receive the prestigious honor.

The Collegiate Women Sports Awards program aims to recognize outstanding female athletes in NCAA-member colleges and universities around the country, not only for their superior athletic skills, but also for their leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.

“I am very humbled to be singled out from a phenomenal group of Division III female athletes to receive this award,” Stern says. “As a senior, the honor is especially meaningful to put the final cap on my collegiate career.”

In addition to being the first Amherst student-athlete named Division III Athlete of the Year, Stern joins Middlebury College’s Julia Bergofsky ’02 as the only NESCAC students to be honored in the award’s 23-year history. Stern, Bergofsky and MIT’s Yvonne Grierson ’90 are the Northeast’s lone honorees, while Stern is the first swimmer to earn the award since 1994.

Arguably the most accomplished student-athlete in Amherst history, Stern has been recognized at the conference, regional and national levels throughout her career. This year alone she was named NESCAC and NCAA Swimmer of the Year, won three conference and three national titles, and set numerous Amherst, pool, NESCAC and NCAA records. Last week she became the first two-time Academic All-America honoree in school history.

Stern was also featured on NPR’s Only a Game and in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd,” and in April she qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in three events. She won all 21 of her individual collegiate races this year, finishing her career with a 74-2 record in freestyle events. Later this month the NESCAC will announce its nomination for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, for which Stern has been nominated.

Kendra Stern '11 was 74-2 in freestyle races at Amherst.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with someone of Kendra’s abilities and to have watched her mature as a collegiate swimmer over the past four years,” Amherst swimming head coach Nick Nichols says. “She holds herself to almost unimaginable standards, athletically and academically, and this award is testament to the hard work and dedication Kendra has put into her life at Amherst. She has consistently been a leader in the pool, in the classroom and in the community and it’s nice to see that leadership recognized at the national level.”

Joining Stern among the 11 Division III Athlete of the Year finalists was Amherst’s Jaci Daigneault ’11, who led the women’s basketball team to its first-ever NCAA title as the National Player of the Year. Also nominated as finalists were Julie Barton of Messiah (field hockey), Paige Caldwell of Methodist (golf), Alison Jaeger of TCNJ (lacrosse), Emilee Lepp of Linfield (softball), Kristin Lim of Claremont (tennis), Amelia McCall of Emory (volleyball), Amanda Naeher of Messiah (soccer), Holly Ozanich of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (track & field), and Wendy Pavlus of St. Lawrence (cross country).

The press conference to present Stern’s award will be held Monday, June 27 in New York in the Low Library on the campus of Columbia University. A luncheon hosted by American Honda will follow the press conference, and a dinner celebrating the Collegiate Sports Award winners will be held Sunday night.

ESPN’s Sage Steele will host this year’s award ceremony, while former Columbia swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Cristina Teuscher will help present the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year award. In addition to Stern being honored, American Honda will donate $5,000 to the women's athletic program at Amherst.

“I know that none of my achievements would have been imaginable without the day-in and day-out support of my coaches, my professors, my family, and especially my teammates,” Stern adds. “I was very lucky in my four years at Amherst to be a part of a team that was about so much more than just the sport. These remarkable women became my close friends, and I share this award with all of them for pushing me every day, cheering for me both in and out of the pool, and being my extended family away from home.”

A list of previous Division III Athlete of the Year award winners can be found below. Read more about the Collegiate Women Sports Awards and about Stern’s accomplishments at Amherst.

1988Jessica BeachyConcordia CollegeBasketball
1989Anna PrineasCarleton CollegeTrack & Field
1990Yvonne GriersonMITSwimming
1991Ann GilbertOberlin CollegeBasketball
1992Kim OdenNebraska Wesleyan UniversityTrack & Field
1993Jennifer CarterKenyon CollegeSwimming
1994Carla AinsworthKenyon CollegeSwimming
1995Amy AlbersWashington-St. LouisVolleyball
1996Shelley SwanWashington-St. LouisVolleyball
1997Turena JohnsonLuther CollegeTrack & Field
1998Tiffany SpeckmanUniversity of Wisconsin-OshkoshCross Country
1999Kelly SchadeSimpson CollegeSoftball
2000Alia FischerWashington-St. LouisBasketball
2001Tasha RogersWashington-St. LouisBasketball
2002Julia BergofskyMiddlebury CollegeField Hockey
2003Libby HysellCentral CollegeSoftball
2004Mary Ellen GordonEmory UniversityTennis
2005Missy ButtryWartburg CollegeCross Country
2006Megan SilvaRandolph-Macon CollegeBasketball
2007Liz BondiDePauw UniversityTennis
2008Sarah ZerzanWillamette UniversityCross Country
2009Ashley HoustonHardin-Simmons UniversityTrack & Field
2010Marie BornerBethel UniversityTrack & Field
2011Kendra SternAmherst CollegeSwimming