Joco Sports

Olathe Northwest graduate a finalist for elite MIAA award

University of Central Missouri soccer standout Kayla Shain has been announced as one of three finalists for the 20th annual Ken B. Jones Award.

The award, which is named for the MIAA’s first full-time commissioner, recognizes outstanding achievement in athletics, academics and within the campus community.

For Shain, that’s one of her favorite aspects of the recognition.

“It’s neat to be recognized from all the athletes in the conference,” Shain said. “It’s not just for athletics, but it’s for academics and community service, so that’s very cool as well.”

Shain, a 5-foot, 5-inch senior midfielder and Olathe Northwest graduate, boasts a 4.0 grade-point average as a speech pathology major.

She was the MIAA women’s soccer player of the year and a first-team All-MIAA selection for the conference champion Jennies, who had a 34-0-2 record in the MIAA during the last three seasons.

“It feels weird that it’s over, but I’m going to be a grad assistant next year with (Jennies soccer coach) Lewis (Theobald), so I’ll still be around it all,” Shain said.

That should help alleviate the swirl of emotions that accompany the end of her playing career, at least until the games actually kick off again.

“I still really enjoy playing and even played in an indoor league with some of the older girls this past spring,” Shain said. “I’ll probably start to miss it most when I see the team actually start playing games again. I’ll want to be out there, so that might be hard.”

Shain is Central Missouri’s all-time leader in games played (83), assists (25) and ranks eighth in career points (49). She scored 12 goals in her career. Also, she is a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American and won the Dr. Peggy Martin Award as the Jennies’ top female student-athlete.

Shain, who is on the Dean’s List and is a member of the UCM Honors College, was named outstanding Spanish minor at

CMU in Warrensburg.

She made it look easy, but it wasn’t always a cakewalk, even for someone as accomplished as Shain.

“Coming in my freshman year, I was nervous and didn’t have a lot of confidence,” Shain said. “Sophomore year, I had a pretty good year, but I started going through the emotions and junior year I wasn’t as prepared. I lost my starting spot and had to work hard to get back where I needed to be. To finish my senior (year) so strong, that’s probably what I was most proud of.”

The other two MIAA finalists are softball players, Central Oklahoma’s Kacie Edwards and Fort Hays State’s Maddie Holub.

The winner will be announced at the MIAA Awards Ceremony on Thursday at the Kansas City Public Library-Plaza Branch.

“It would be awesome, especially when you look at how great the other athletes are who are up for the award against me,” Shain said. “I read some of their bios, and they’ve done really great things. It would be a great honor to win, but even being considered is pretty cool.”