Former Liberty field hockey student-athlete Serena Barr has been selected as a Top 9 Honoree for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, as announced by the Women of the Year selection committee on Wednesday afternoon.
Barr is one of three NCAA Division I athletes remaining in the selection process for NCAA Woman of the Year. The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will choose the 2017 Woman of the Year from the nine finalists, which will be announced at a ceremony in Indianapolis, Ind., on Oct. 22. This year marks the 27th annual celebration of the NCAA Woman of the Year award.
"It is a high honor for Liberty Athletics to have a student-athlete named among the nine finalists for NCAA Woman of the Year and affirmation that we are achieving our vision of training champions for Christ," stated Liberty Director of Athletics Ian McCaw. "We congratulate Serena Barr on being recognized for her academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service and leadership."
The top nine honorees are: Sabrina Anderson (Slippery Rock), Serena Barr (Liberty), Jenny Carmichael (Oklahoma), Eliana Crawford (Kenyon), Lizzy Crist (Wash. U in St. Louis), Kaina Martinez (Texas A&M-Kingsville), Christina Melian (Stony Brook), Natalie O'Keefe (Southwest Baptist) and Jayme Perez (East Texas Baptist).
Barr became the first Liberty student-athlete in school history to reach the top 30 for the NCAA Woman of the Year, when the list was announced on Sept. 6. She was one of 10 Division I athletes and the only field hockey student-athlete to be named on the listing. The committee made its selections for the Top 30 based on excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.
NCAA member institutions nominated a record 543 women for the award this year, which conferences then trimmed down to 145 nominees to be considered by the committee. Former Liberty women's soccer student-athlete Holly Van Noord was nominated alongside Barr, as a Big South Conference representative.
Barr graduated summa cum laude from Liberty in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in public health and a minor in biomedical science. During her tenure at Liberty, Barr maintained a perfect 4.00 GPA. Upon graduation, she received the Liberty School of Health Sciences Exceptional Student Award.
In early June, she became the first Liberty field hockey student-athlete to be named an academic All-American, garnering a 2016-17 CoSIDA Academic All-America® At-Large second team distinction.
The Lurgan, Northern Ireland native is currently pursuing a master's degree in dietetics at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
"I am so pleased to hear that Serena is being recognized as a Top 9 Honoree for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Serena was not only an outstanding, fiercely competitive hockey player, but she was an incredible student and one of the most generous and caring individuals in our program," said former Liberty field hockey head coach and program founder Jodi Murphy. "It is no easy feat to juggle all of the aspects of being a student-athlete, but Serena did so with class, integrity and grace. I could not be more proud of her and the Liberty Field Hockey program for helping sharpen and encourage her during her career. This honor is one that the entire program and university can celebrate."
In her final season in a Liberty uniform, Barr merited selection to the 2016 Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-America second team, becoming the second All-American in program history.
Barr was the Zag Field Hockey National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I National Scholar Athlete in 2016. The Northern Ireland native was recognized with the 2016-17 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award, one of 22 BIG EAST student-athletes and the lone field hockey representative from the league.
Her lengthy list of accomplishments also includes CoSIDA Academic All-District™ honors and the Big South Conference's George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence, given annually to the male and female-student athletes who attain the highest GPA during their college careers.
Barr garnered inclusion on the Zag Sport/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad and Scholars of Distinction lists in each of her four seasons of competition for the Liberty Lady Flames field hockey team. Barr was named the Best Female Athlete of the Year by her peers at the 2017 FLAMESPY Award Show.
In her final season on the field in 2016, Barr guided the Lady Flames to a runner-up finish in their inaugural season in the BIG EAST Conference and received BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year for her efforts. She tallied eight goals, 11 assists and team-high 27 points on the season.
In addition to her accomplishments in the BIG EAST during her final season, Barr was a two-time Northern Pacific Field Hockey Conference (NorPac) champion and two-time NorPac first team honoree.
Barr is the Liberty field hockey program's all-time leader in assists (38), while ranking third in points (96), fourth in goals (29) second in shots (211), and fifth in game-winning goals (6).
Barr's impact on Liberty and the community stretched far beyond the field hockey program. She volunteered her time in many places throughout the Lynchburg community and surrounding area, spending countless hours of her college career serving through opportunities provided by Liberty Academic Affairs for Athletics.
Some of Barr's community service activities included, but were not limited to: Reading Buddies, Dream Team Mentorship Program, 21st Century Grant Program Volunteer, A Dollar Makes a Difference School Supply Drive, Parkside Community Center Food for Families, Blue Ridge Community Center Homeless Shelter Volunteer and Sandusky Middle School After School Program Tutor. Barr also spent significant time throughout her undergraduate years serving in Uganda with her family's organization, Charlene's Project.
Charlene's Project, an organization founded by Barr's late sister, Charlene, seeks to relieve poverty, hardship and distress while also providing the advancement of education for children and young people in Uganda and beyond.
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