West Virginia University women's soccer forward Michaela Abam has been selected as a candidate for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
A year ago, three Big 12 members were honored: Kadeisha Buchanan (WVU), Courtney Dike (OSU) and Ashley Lawrence (WVU). Buchanan recorded First Team Senior CLASS Award All-American status whiel Dike and Lawrence earned Second Team recognition.
Since West Virginia's first candidate in 2013 (Frances Silva), four Mountaineers have landed on the award's initial list, and all have claimed Senior Class All-America honors: Kate Schwindel (second team, 2014), Amanda Hill (second team, 2015), Buchanan (first team, 2016) and Ashley Lawrence (second team, 2016).
One of two team captains, Abam has helped the Mountaineers claim five Big 12 Conference titles since 2014, as well as make three straight NCAA Championship appearances, including a spot in the NCAA College Cup Final in 2016.
Named to the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List earlier this season, the Houston native earned her first career All-America honor as a junior, landing on the NSCAA second team. She is a two-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree and the reigning Big 12 co-Offensive Player of the Year.
Abam has started 65 of 81 career matches and ranks No. 5 in WVU program history with 35 career goals and No. 7 with 85 career points. This season, she paces the Mountaineers' offense with eight points (3 G, 2 A). All three of her scores have been game-winners, the best mark in the Big 12 and No. 10 nationally.
An athletic coaching education major, Abam was named to the 2016 Academic All-Big 12 Team. She also was named to the Dean's List, the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and WVU's Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll.
Throughout her four years at WVU, Abam has made visits to the WVU Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House with her teammates. Additionally, she has assisted in the program's efforts to raise money for breast cancer research, and she spent the summer of 2017 volunteering with Mountaineer United Soccer Club.
The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will then select one male and one female candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four C's of community, classroom, character and competition.
The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Men's and Women's College Cup championships in December.