LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Thirty-seven student-athletes from 20 programs have garnered 2022 NFCA National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I All-America recognition. Additionally, Yavapai College’s Yaya Kaaialii and Bossier Parish Community College’s Primrose Aholelei took home the Schutt Sports / NFCA Player and Pitcher of the Year honors, respectively.
Also capturing major end-of-the year awards are Camryn Cernuto of Chattanooga State Community College as the New Balance/NFCA NJCAA DI Golden Shoe Award recipient and Jasmine Moreno of Yavapai College, the Diamond Sports/NFCA NJCAA DI Catcher of the Year accolade.
Yavapai led the way with six All-Americans, five on the first team. Chattanooga State followed with four All-Americans (one first team). Back-to-back national champion Florida SouthWestern State College and national runner-up McLennan Community College each had three All-America plaudits.
Five programs – Butler Community College, College of Southern Idaho, Indian Hills Community College, Iowa Western Community College and Wallace State Community College-Hanceville – each had two honorees.
Also taking home multiple first-team honors were McLennan, Indiana Hills and Wallace State.
Four student-athletes – Sydney Anderson (First Base) of Indian Hills, Yavapai’s Kaaialii and Lovey Kepa’a (Shortstop) and McLennan’s Erin Plunkett (DP or Utility/Non-Pitcher) - were unanimous selections on the first team.
Seven student-athletes are being recognized for a second straight season, including two-time first-team selection JT Smith (At-Large-Outfield) of Grayson College.
Joining Smith as a multiple honoree are first teamers Caitlyn Wong (At-Large-Third Base) of McLennan and Aydenne Brown (At-Large-Pitcher) of Odessa College, along with second-teamers Molly Pendley (Second Base) of Snead State College, Madi Young (Outfield) of Butler CC, Howard College’s Sasha Willems (At-Large-Catcher) and FSW’s Feline Poot (At-Large-Third Base).
Kaaialii, who was a first-team All-Region and All-Arizona Community College Conference selection, was part of a potent offense that keyed Yavapai to a fifth-place finish at the NJCAA DI National Championship Tournament. The freshman second baseman hit .530 (96-for-181) with 25 doubles, 26 home runs, 89 RBI and 99 runs scored. She slugged 1.133 , drew 56 walks and reached base at a .639 clip. Her gaudy offensive numbers ranked her in the NJCAA DI’s top 10 in walks (1st), runs (3rd), total bases (3rd), OBP (3rd), slugging (4th), RBI (5th), doubles (6th), homers (7th) and batting average (8th).
Aholelei , a first-team All-American, led NJCAA DI with 28 victories (28-3) and 344 strikeouts, while posting the fifth lowest ERA at 1.14. The sophomore hurler’s 12.61 strikeouts per seven innings ranked second best and her nine shutouts ranked third. Aholelei recorded 14 double-digit strikeout games, including a season best 17 twice in wins over Northeast Texas and Trinity Valley. She surrendered just 98 hits and 46 walks, while holding the opposition to a .146 batting average, which was fourth lowest amongst NJCAA DI pitchers.
Cernuto was the top base stealer in NJCAA DI with 71 steals earning her the New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe Award. The second-team All-America at-large selection (Second Base) was pivotal in Chattanooga State’s 4-2 showing at the NJCAA DI National Championship Tournament. Cernuto recorded multiple steals in 18 contests, including a season-best five against Coastal Alabama-Brewton and four more versus Pearl River. At the plate, she hit .429 with 97 hits, 11 doubles, 39 RBI and 89 runs scored.
Moreno, the first-team catcher, captured the Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year nod. She batted .473 (88-for-186) with 21 doubles, 21 long balls, 77 RBI and 63 runs scored. Moreno slugged .925 and recorded a .569 on-base percentage. Behind the dish, Moreno was nearly perfect committing just one error in 354 chances for a .997 fielding percentage and threw runners out at a .351 clip (13-for-37).
NFCA All-Region and All-America 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 elected All-American committee members to receive this prestigious accolade. All special awards are also selected by the All-American committee members or by the entire division.
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