From Staff Reports

RICHARDSON — Six student-athletes from American Southwest Conference member institutions have been nominated for the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year.

Alexis Segura of LeTourneau, Marlee Blackwell of Belhaven, Annika Canaba of Sul Ross State, Claire Hillyer of McMurry, Kathy Joseph of UT Dallas and Elisa Kendall of East Texas Baptist have each been nominated by their campuses for the prestigious award.

The ASC Woman of the Year nominee will be announced on July 21.

Established in 1991 and now in its 31st year, 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.

Segura, a cross country runner, track & field athlete and soccer player from Austin. She was a two-time Academic All-America selection, three-time Academic All-District and received Academic All-Conference honors in all three sports. Segura was also a two-time Distinguished Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2020 LeTourneau Medal of Honor recipient.

She was the Outstanding Track Athlete of the Championship, Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year and two-time conference champion in the 1,500 meters. Segura won the 2018 ASC Cross Country Championship, earning All-Conference three times, as well as a two-time All-Conference pick in soccer. Segura had a 4.00 GPA in Kinesiology.

Blackwell, a softball player from Louin, Mississippi., was a three-time All-ASC selection, helping lead the Blazers to a share of the ASC East Division title in 2021 and a trip to the NCAA Championship. She was the 2019 Fred Jacoby Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year and a NCCAA Third Team All-American the same season. Blackwell was a member of the Sigma Mu Epsilon Honor Society and a four-time Academic All-Conference selection. She graduated with a 3.79 GPA in Psychology.

Canaba, a volleyball and softball player from Alpine, was the 2020-21 ASC West Division Player of the Year in volleyball and was the 2018 Freshman of the Year. She earned All-Conference three times in volleyball and twice in softball. Canaba sered on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was Sul Ross’ 2021 ASC Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor recipient. Canaba graduated with a GPA of 3.82 in Kinesiology.

Hillyer, a tennis player from Borger was the 2021 ASC West Division Player of the Year and earned All-West Division honors three times in her career. She was a member of the SAAC and a three-time Academic All-Conference selection. Hillyer also received McMurry’s Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor after graduating with a 3.97 GPA in Multimedia and Graphic Design.

Joseph, a tennis player from Williston, Vermont., is a three-time ITA All-America, a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District pick and the 2020-21 ASC Athlete of the Year. She advanced to the NCAA Individual Championship Semifinals in both singles and doubles. Joseph was a four-time Academic All-Conference selection, three-time Distinguished Scholar-Athlete of the Year and three-time ASC Division MVP. She was a National Merit Scholar in UTD Honors College and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.89 GPA in Biomedical Engineering.

Kendall, a tennis player from Houston, is a two-time ITA All-American, the 2019 ASC East Division MVP and 2017 East Freshman of the Year. She earned All-Conference three times and All-Division four times. Kendall was a four-time Academic All-Conference selection and an ITA Scholar-Athlete. She was the 2020 Scholar-Athlete Medal of Honor recipient for ETBU and was the 2019 ASC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She also was the 2021 ASC East Division Tri-Sportsmanship Athlete of the Year. Kendall had a 3.83 GPA in Kinesiology.

The NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee will determine the top ten honorees in each division for the Top 30 list. The nine award finalists will be announced in September. From those nine finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will choose the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year.

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Sports editor

I've covered sports in East Texas since 1987, starting as a 21-year-old sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald before spending seven years at the Lufkin Daily News and the past 23 years at the Longview News-Journal.