Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three Softballers Among Finalists for NCAA Woman of the Year

Three softball players have been named part of a group of nine finalists for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year award. Spanning all three divisions and all sports, four qualities (academics, athletics, community services, and leadership) are examined to determine the nominees and the eventual winner.
(L-R) Bast, Vrazel, Light

Softball is the only sport to be represented more than once among the finalists. The three young ladies representing the sport also represent all three divisions of the NCAA.

Marisa Bast of Northwestern represent D1 softball. An All-American and three-time all-conference selection, she was also a three-time all-conference-academic choice. More on Bast from the NCAA release: "Marisa Bast, a softball student-athlete at Northwestern University, served for three years on her campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Her senior year, Bast spearheaded the launch of an ongoing anti-bullying campaign, Reach Out and Reinforce Respect (ROARR), which pairs Northwestern student-athletes with local middle and elementary schools to advocate against bullying.

Bast was named three times to the Academic All-Big Ten team and was a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She was nominated for the Senior CLASS Award, and received the Eggemeyer Family Endowed Scholarship and Walter K. Smart Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded to a junior or senior student-athlete to recognize devoted interest in college athletics."

Bailey Vrazel of the TWU Pioneers represenst the sport at the Division II level. A three-time All-American, which includes two first-team nods, Vrazel also holds two Golden Shoe Awards, marking her as the nation's leading base stealer in two different seasons. More on Vrazel, also courtesy of the NCAA: "A three-year captain for the softball team, Bailey Vrazel led her peers off the field as well. She participated for three years on the Texas Woman’s University campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, while coaching a 16U softball team, volunteering with the Brazosport Regional Medical Center Physical Therapy group, the Good Samaritan Nursing Home and the Angleton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. Vrazel joined the Athenian Honor Society and was named the 2013 Honors Student-Athlete of the Year.
The kinesiology major plans to pursue a higher degree in physical therapy. She graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA and was named every semester to the Chancellor’s list, which recognizes students with a 4.0 average. For three straight years, she won the Texas Woman’s University Chancellor’s Award, the highest accolade given to a student-athlete recognizing excellence in sports, the classroom, and the promotion of athletics. Vrazel was also recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association with All-America Scholar honors three times. She received the Division II Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award three times, and was selected as the 2013 recipient of the Division II softball Elite 89 Award. She went on to win the 2014 Texas Woman’s University Outstanding Senior Award, in recognition of her academic excellence, involvement in extracurricular activities and contributions to the life of the university. She received multiple Academic All-America honors, and received the 2014 NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Postgraduate Scholarship. She rounded out her academic accolades as the 2014 Capital One All-America of the Year for softball."

Megan Light of Emory University is the third softballer nominated for the award. Light is also a three-time All-American; five school records and a Team USA representation are also on her resume. For more on Light, let's turn to the NCAA one more time: "A two-year softball team captain for Emory University, Megan Light established herself as a campus leader both on and off the field. She served four years as the softball team’s representative on Emory’s campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Off the field, she volunteered at a homeless shelter and Global Health Action, where she worked with donors on the Left-Behind Children program in China.
Light earned two Capital One Academic All-America honors and made the dean’s list every semester. Light was a recipient of Emory’s Brittain Award, Emory’s highest student honor, which recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated exemplary service to the university and the greater community. She was also named to the Mortar Board Senior Honors Society, which recognizes 50 seniors based on leadership, scholarship and service, and was the 2010 Atlanta Sports Award Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. She went on to earn the 2014 Charles Shepard Scholarship as she pursues her graduate degree."

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