UT Tyler Athletics
By Jimmy Glenn || American Southwest Conference
RICHARDSON - An athletic career that included a national championship and numerous all-conference, all-region and all-America accolades added NCAA Woman of the Year nomination as the American Southwest Conference representative.
Kelsie Batten (Huntington, Texas/Huntington HS), a University of Texas at Tyler graduate and a softball student-athlete, was selected by the American Southwest Conference Senior Woman Administrators as the ASC nominee for the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year award, the ASC announced today (July 27). Batten will be one of 51 Woman of the Year nominees from Division III conferences with 141 total nominees from conference across the three divisions.
In its 26th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership. All nominees have exhausted their collegiate eligibility. Jessica Johnson of Louisiana College, Kayla Jordan of the University of Texas at Dallas, and Kelly Jo McClendon of East Texas Baptist University joined Batten as nominees from ASC member institutions.
Batten holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Texas-Tyler and was an active participant in campus, athletics and softball community service activities throughout her undergraduate career.
In her nomination statement, Batten noted that her college softball journey provided her much more than team and individual accolades. Batten pointed to the annual free youth clinic hosted by the Patriots' softball team which grew every year with young girls eager to learn and share the sport of softball with the college students
"The girls we worked with taught me what it meant to be a role model and that win or lose, they are watching us wide-eyed and eager to become us one day," Batten wrote. "The softball achievement I am most proud of is being able encourage and motivate young kids around me to go after their dreams and be relentless in their pursuit to reach their goals."
In addition to the youth softball clinics, Batten took a team leadership role in various projects supporting the Texas-Tyler Special Olympics Patriot Days, ACE After School program, Wounded Warrior Armed Forces game and fundraiser, and numerous camps, clinics and sports play days with Tyler-area youth organizations.
Batten's athletic achievements include recognition at the conference, regional and national levels. The pitcher was three-time American Southwest Conference Pitcher of the Year with four all-conference first team citations. She claimed all-America and all-West Region honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) in each of her four seasons. Batten led UT Tyler to the 2016 NCAA Division III national championship after finishing runner-up in 2015 and fourth in 2013. After her championship tournament performance, she represented softball as the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year nominee, and was both NFCA/Schutt Division III Player of the Year and 2016 championship tournament Most Valuable Player.
The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee will next choose the top 30 honorees – 10 from each division – from among the Divisions III, II and I conference nominees. The committee determines the top three nominees from each division announcing the nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then selects from among the finalists the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year. The top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2016 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced at the annual award ceremony Oct. 16 in Indianapolis.