LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Fifty-four student-athletes from 43 different institutions have been voted to one of three 2021 NFCA Division II All-America teams, the Association announced on Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to the All-Americans, the Diamond Sports / NFCA Catcher of the Year and New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe awards were announced. West Texas A&M graduate student Shanna McBroom and Dominican College junior Rajene Bowe were the recipients, respectively. McBroom was tabbed a first-team All-American, while Bowe was voted onto the second team.
No. 1 and Central Region champion Augustana topped the charts with four All-Americans, while South Region champs Valdosta State took home three honors. Auburn University at Montgomery, Colorado Mesa, Columbus State, North Georgia, UT Tyler and West Texas A&M garnered two accolades apiece. The Lady Buffs, who captured the South Central Region title, and the Mavericks picked up two first-team nods each.
Six – Augustana, Grand Valley State, North Georgia, Saint Anselm, Valdosta State and West Texas A&M - of the eight programs that advanced to the 2021 NCAA Division II Championships had student-athletes earn All-America status.
North Georgia pitcher Kylee Smith, a first-team at-large selection, became the 19th four-time NFCA All-American in Division II. Additionally, she is now in elite company with CSUN pitcher Debbie Dickman (1987-90), Ashland outfielder Sunny Litteral (1996-99) and Lock Haven pitcher Kristin Erb (2006-09) as the fourth Division II student-athlete to earn four first-team honors.
Smith captured Peach Belt Pitcher of the Year accolades for the fourth straight season. She played an instrumental role in the NightHawks’ seventh straight PBC title and sixth berth into the national championship tournament.
Missouri Western second baseman Sydni Hawkins was the lone unanimous first-team selection. The MIAA Player of the Year led the league in hitting (.483) and on-base percentage (.522), setting new program marks by 53 and 56 points, respectively.
First-team All-Americans – Smith, Augustana outfielder Kendall Cornick, the West Texas A&M duo of McBroom and outfielder Ruby Salzman, Valdosta State shortstop Nicole Pennington and Saint Anselm hurler Morgan Perry - lead their squads into action this upcoming week in Denver. Cornick (NSIC), McBroom (Lone Star) and Pennington (Gulf South) all captured their league Player of the Year accolade, while Perry took home NE-10 Pitcher of the Year recognition.
McBroom, the Diamond Catcher of the Year, enters the championship batting .444 with 75 hits, 13 doubles, eight triples, six home runs and 34 RBI. Leading off for the Lady Buffs, McBroom has scored 66 runs, stole 35 bases and reached base at a .497 clip.
Cornick will be joined at the Championships by teammates Ashley Mickschl (pitcher, 2nd team), Mary Pardo (outfield, 3rd team) and Torri Chute (DP or utility-non-pitcher, 3rd team), while Pennington will have two third-team All-Americans - Kiley Robb and Morgan Hill - on her side as well. Grand Valley State pitcher Hannah Beatus (3rd team) heads to Denver, leading the Lakers to a Midwest Region title.
There are eight returning honorees across the three teams, including a trio of three-time honorees (excluding Smith) - Mickschl, Concordia Irvine pitcher Callie Nunes (2nd) and Trevecca Nazarene shortstop MaKray Odom (3rd).
Additionally, six programs – Dominican College, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Rogers State University, Shepherd University, University of the Sciences and West Liberty University – were recognized with their first-ever NFCA All-American, while five more – Auburn University at Montgomery, Maryville University of Saint Louis, Oklahoma Christian, Southern Nazarene University and University of Texas at Tyler captured their first at NCAA Division II.
One of those six from a first-time program is New Balance/Golden Shoe recipient Rajene Bowe, hailing from Dominican College. Bowe finished the regular season with an NCAA-best 34 stolen bases in 35 attempts and averaged 1.06 per game. She topped the Chargers with a .460 average, 52 hits, five triples, .492 on-base percentage and 33 runs scored.
Joining two-time All-American Morgan Perry as first-team pitchers are Minnesota State’s Mackenzie Ward and University of Indianapolis’ Kenzee Smith. Both hurlers played instrumental roles in their squad reaching the Central and Midwest Regional finals. Also spearheading her team into a regional final was first-team shortstop Alyssa Herrara from Georgian Court University. The rookie infielder keyed the Lions to a 38-5 record and Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference regular-season and tournament titles. Smith and Herrera are finalists for the 2021 Schutt Sports/NFCA Freshman of the Year award.
The Colorado Mesa first-team All-America tandem of outfielder Lauren Wedman and utility-pitcher (at-large) Ellie Smith powered the Mavericks to 39 wins and their fifth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. Wedman and Smith were both RMAC first-team selections, with Smith earning league Player of the Year honors.
Also taking home first-team plaudits were Shippensburg first baseman Hannah Marsteller, Columbus State utility-pitcher Hannah Rose Corbin, Academy of Art’s Lauren Henderson at DP or Utility-Non-Pitcher, Millersville catcher (at-large) Faith Willenbrock, University of North Carolina at Pembroke first baseman (at-large) Tatum Brummitt and Malone catcher (at-large) Bailey Byers, a two-time honoree (third team in 2019).
Byers (G-MAC), Brummitt (Co-Peach Belt), Corbin (Co-Peach Belt) and Marsteller (PSAC) earned their league’s Player of the Year plaudits.
NFCA All-Region and All-American athletes must be nominated by their NFCA-member head coach, are voted for by the coaches in their region or division, and ultimately selected by