Posted: Jan 9, 2013 9:17 AM
JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Eight members of the Lincoln softball team have been named All-American Scholar Athletes by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The NFCA, a professional growth organization for coaches from all levels of competitive play, announced the honors.
Brianna Akers, Megan Braun, Joey Bunch, Olivia Durrell, Kristina Hein, Sam Kircher, Starr McLeod and Lauren McMinn were all recognized by the NFCA for their stellar work in the classroom during the 2011-12 academic year. To qualify for the honor, the athlete must achieve a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and be an active member of her school's team. The NFCA bestows its All-American Scholar Athlete honor to all qualifying athletes at every NCAA, NAIA, junior college and high school level.
With eight athletes recognized by the NFCA, Lincoln tied Pittsburg State for the most players honored for 2011-12. LU and PSU each had eight honorees while Central Missouri and Lindenwood were next with seven apiece.
The Lincoln softball team has a history of academic excellence as, last spring, 12 members of the team were named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll for having cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher. Hein led the team with a perfect 4.0 average while McMinn (3.78) and Akers (3.76) were next. As of last spring, Durrell carried a 3.66 average, followed by Bunch (3.63), Braun (3.60), Kircher (3.54) and McLeod (3.50).
Additionally, Braun, who graduated last spring and currently serves as an assistant coach with this year's squad, received one of the MIAA's Scholar Athlete Awards. Braun received that honor based on a combination of her performance on the classroom and on the field, as she was selected as an All-MIAA Honorable Mention for the 2012 season.
The Blue Tigers return 10 players from last year's squad, which won 15 games and made the postseason for the first time since 2008. In just its second season in the MIAA, Lincoln qualified for the MIAA Championship Tournament, becoming one of only eight teams in the league to accomplish that feat.
The Lincoln softball team will kick off its 2013 campaign on Feb. 8, when the Blue Tigers travel to Durant, Okla. for the first two of six games in the Southeastern Oklahoma State Tournament. The Blue Tigers will officially open the season with a 2:00 p.m. CST game vs. Henderson State before playing Ouachita Baptist at 4:00 p.m. CST that afternoon.