BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (October 21, 2021) - Former Kentucky volleyball player Avery Skinner is one of nine former college athletes that have been named finalists for the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The nine finalists - including three from each NCAA division - demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.
Skinner, a member of the 2020 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship team, was named First-Team All-America by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in the spring of 2021. In 2021, the All-SEC selection received the CATSPY Blue Heart Award, CATSPY Elite Performer Award and CATSPY Miss Wildcat Award, given to a female student-athlete who represents the heart and soul of Kentucky athletics and a commitment to excellence. Skinner played on the United States Collegiate National Team Europe Tour roster in 2018. She was a 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team selection for volleyball and a 2020 first-team Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar. Skinner completed over 250 hours of service while at Kentucky and was named to the 2019 and 2020 SEC Community Service Teams for volleyball. She also was a member of her campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was inducted into the University of Kentucky Frank G. Ham Society of Character. Skinner was the new member and involvement chair for the Kentucky American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club and volunteered for two years with the Kentucky Early Childhood Lab. In 2019, she participated in a Kentucky athletics mission trip to Ethiopia. Skinner graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors this past spring, earning a degree in Communications Sciences and Disorders.
"Being a student-athlete is one of the most difficult but rewarding endeavors I have ever done," said Skinner. "Not playing due to injuries, mental health, COVID-19, and so much more were not trials that I ever anticipated going through but are all seasons of life that have resulted in resiliency and growth. In these moments of struggle, my character was being built, and I can now use those hardships to be an encouragement for athletes who might be experiencing similar situations."
Finalists were selected from the Top 30 Woman of the Year honorees, made up of 10 women from each division. The Top 30 represented 12 sports, including one NCAA emerging sport for women. In 2021, schools nominated 535 graduating female student-athletes for this prestigious award.
At 7:30 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, Nov. 9, the finalists and Top 30 honorees will be celebrated and the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year will be announced during a virtual awards ceremony. The show will be streamed on the NCAA Twitter account and ncaa.org/woty.