University at Albany senior softball slugger Kelly Barkevich was named the 2019-20 America East Woman of the Year.
“I heard that I was nominated last week by our academic advisors, but besides that, I didn’t have any ideas,” Barkevich said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I was shocked and so grateful that they even nominated me and then eventually selected for it.”
Barkevich has had a busy academic and athletic career at UAlbany, and it’s still not complete.
She earned her undergraduate degree in three years in business administration with a concentration in finance and management, with a minor in economics. She has completed her first year of her master’s program, studying special education and literacy.
Along the way, she was the vice-president of the UAlbany Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), and helped organize several UAlbany athletic department and America East initiatives.
“I was so interested in joining [SAAC] because of how much we pride ourselves on giving back to the community and representing the student athlete’s voice at school,” Barkevich said. “It seemed like something I knew I wanted to be a part of freshman year, and [I] loved it so much that I decided to run for a position. It’s been one of the best parts of my collegiate experience.”
A 2016 Shenendehowa graduate, Barkevich continued to give back after her time on the Clifton Park campus.
“Even at Shen, me, and Jordyn [Marr], a UAlbany lacrosse senior, were very involved in the community, and both of us loved the idea of giving back,” Barkevich said. “At UAlbany, through SAAC, we were able to do the exact same thing, and I think we had even more opportunities to do that with initiatives like Better Together Games, Food Frenzy food drive and our Spread Respect Games. We were just given so many chances and kind of capitalized on that.”
UAlbany softball coach Chris Cannata was excited for her infielder being recognized.
“She truly, honestly, just does everything she can to help anybody,” Cannata said. “She’s always volunteering to help people, she’s always volunteering her time and does a ton of community service, she’s on all these committees.
“She doesn’t do it for any of the glory or awards, she just does it because of the way she was brought up and the that’s the kind of kid she is.”
Barkevich made 99 starts among her 122 appearances for the Great Danes with a career .262 batting average including 10 doubles, 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. She was part of the 2017 and 2018 America East championship teams, advancing in the regional brackets of the NCAA tournament.
Barkevich is now nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year, where a selection committee will identify the top 30 nominees, 10 from each division, then reduced to three finalists from each division.
The Committee on Women’s Athletics then selects the winner from the nine finalists. All 30 Woman of the Year honorees and the national winner will be announced Nov. 1.