LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A pair of Lewis & Clark softball student-athletes were chosen by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association as All-America Scholar-Athletes for the 2014-15 academic year, the organization announced earlier this month.
Senior Maddie Lee and freshman Ateisha Norton earned the honor, as the NFCA recognized over 5,400 softball players across seven membership divisions. Of those, 1,018 were Division III student-athletes, 25 of which were from the Northwest Conference. Lewis & Clark was one of four NWC institutions to have student-athletes named.
To qualify for the award, the student-athlete must have a 3.5 grade-point average of higher.
"We are beyond proud of our student-athletes that have received this prestigious academic award," said head coach Shawna Cyrus. "It's amazing how these young women are able to balance their academic and athletic talents.
Our entire softball program is so committed to their academics and it's inspiring to watch them succeed on the field and in the classroom."
Lee, a utility player from Seattle, Wash., appeared in 26 games last season and made 40 plate appearances. Her standout game was against Willamette in Salem where she went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases.
"My senior year, I had clearly defined goals and an amazing support system consisting of my parents, coaches and teammates," said Lee, who graduated last spring with a degree in Rhetoric and Media Studies and is now a graduate student at Northwestern University. "My two goals were to get into graduate school and to make the conference tournament. My teammates would push me in practice and then read over my application essays when we got back to campus. I can't thank them enough for that."
Out of Kanehoe, Hawaii, Ateisha Norton had a stellar freshman season on the diamond, hitting .315, the second-highest batting average among those with 90 or more at bats. She had 16 RBI and 29 hits, 10 for extra bases. Entering her freshman season, Norton planned to major in psychology.
"It feels good to know that my effort on the field and in the classroom was recognized and it encourages me to continue to try and excel in both areas," said Norton. "It is a really great opportunity to be able to play the sport that I love in college, and at the same time, be able to receive an awesome education.
"It takes determination and support from everyone around me to be able to help me remain focused on my education and participation in a varsity sport. Without a great support system at school and at home, I wouldn't be able to do both."
Norton returns to a team that is expecting 13 returning players and seven incoming freshmen, many of whom sport strong academic backgrounds including two valedictorians and two scholar-athletes of the year.
The softball team concludes their fall practices this weekend with an intrasquad scrimmage at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Huston Sports Complex.