After a season in which much of the media attention was centered on one conference, a great deal of parity was demonstrated in the NFCA Division III All-Region awards, announced today by the Association.
Three regions saw schools with four first-teamers apiece, including two such teams in the Midwest and West regions. In the Midwest, Luther and St. Thomas both placed four on the first team. Luther's battery of Kim Lambert (pitcher) and Tiffany Kruse (catcher) were joined by infielders Anna Simonson and Lauran Snyder. The Tommies' first-teamers included pitcher Marta Radcliffe and first baseman Allison Wright, as well as outfielders Erica Wilson and Sydney Marquardt, who was an at-large selection.
In the West, four first team honors were also bestowed amongst two schools, Texas-Tyler and Linfield, including batteries from both teams. UTT's nods included pitcher Stacy Shepherd and catcher Brittanni Hanna (at-large), as well as first baseman Whitney Wyly and outfielder Joey Cronin. Linfield's Claire Velaski (pitcher), Emillee Lepp (catcher), shortstop Staci Doucette and utility player Karleigh Prestianni all received first team honors.
Ohio Northern was the other lone school to place four student-athletes on the Central region first team, again led by its battery in pitcher Cortney Cash and catcher Kimi Blewett. Joining them were second baseman Jackie Mangola and outfielder Mandi Fought.
In the Atlantic region, No. 1-ranked Louisiana College and No. 3-ranked Salisbury each placed three on the first team. LC's Rene' Schwartzenburg received honors at pitcher, while Mary Alice Roy was named at shortstop and Jodi Montagnino was named at outfielder. Salisbury's battery of pitcher Kelly Leary and catcher Lauren Brenneman was joined by outfielder Michelle Gravhadl.
The College of New Jersey in the East and Carthage in the Great Lakes also both placed three athletes on the first team. Shortstop Ellen Seavers, outfielder Crystal Lee and pitcher Ashley Minervini (at-large) paced the Lions in the East region. Carthage's nods came at designated player in Alyssa Schrader and two at-large bids in pitcher Kelsey Epping and outfielder Stephanie Noel.
The New England and Northeast regions saw first team honors spread out amongst the most teams, with the maximum number of players from one school on the first team being two. The Northeast was marked by Cortland State's Katie Finch at pitcher and Donnalyn Cross at second, as well as Alfred's Emily Fenton at catcher and Anglea Netta in the outfield. Rivier also placed two on the first team in pitcher Monica White and shortstop Taylor Cournoyer, as did SUNY New Paltz in outfielder Rose Dovi and first baseman Jillian Gallagher, an at-large nod. In all, nine teams in the Northeast region placed at least one athlete on the first team. The New England region showed just as much parity, with 10 teams placing at least one on the first team.
NCAA regionals begin this Thursday at eight sites around the country, and NFCA Division III All-Americans will be announced next Thursday at the NCAA championship banquet in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.