GREENSBORO, N.C. â€“ Eleven student-athletes, representing six different schools, comprise the 2008 North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) College Division All-State Softball Team released Wednesday.
The fifth-annual team consists of non-NCAA Division I student-athletes from North Carolina colleges and universities. North Carolina sports information professionals submitted the nominees and NCCSIA members voted for the all-state teams, which consist of two starting pitchers, one catcher, four infielders, three outfielders and one designated player.
NCAA Division II playoff participants Lenoir-Rhyne College and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke both placed three students on the team. NCAA Division III tournament qualifier Methodist University had two students honored. Guilford College, Mount Olive College and North Carolina Wesleyan College each received one selection.
Founded in 2002, NCCSIA is comprised of sports information professionals from North Carolinaâ€™s NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and independent institutions for the purpose of promoting college athletics in the state. Membership is open to anyone affiliated with a college, university or conference located in North Carolina whose responsibilities include sports information.
NCCSIA selects all-state teams in the university (NCAA Division I) and college (Division II, III, NAIA, NCCAA) divisions for womenâ€™s volleyball, menâ€™s and womenâ€™s basketball, menâ€™s and womenâ€™s soccer, softball and baseball. Over 500 student-athletes have been recognized on all-state teams since 2003.
The 2008 NCCSIA College Division All-State Baseball Team will be released Thursday (May 29). The University Division All-State Softball Team will be announced June 2. The University Division All-State Baseball Team will be announced June 3.
2008 NCCSIA All-State Softball Team (College Division)
Pos. Name School Class Hometown
P Martika Elmore UNC Pembroke Freshman Fayetteville, N.C.
P Meredith Oâ€™Connor^ Lenoir-Rhyne Senior Charlotte, N.C.
C Karie Pushard Lenoir-Rhyne Senior Harrisburg, N.C.
IF Ashlee Bass N.C. Wesleyan Senior Midlothian, Va.
IF Kelly Hale Guilford Junior Toler, Ky.
IF Jelena Shaw UNC Pembroke Sophomore Hope Mills, N.C.
IF Kayla Talbert Methodist Junior Winston-Salem, N.C.
OF Brittany Berrier UNC Pembroke Senior Lexington, N.C.
OF Rebekah Kelly^ Methodist Senior Fayetteville, N.C.
OF Taylor Queen* Lenoir-Rhyne Senior Hickory, N.C.
DP Jenny Jackson Mount Olive Junior Fremont, N.C.
^ – 2007 NCCSIA All-State pick * – 2006 NCCSIA All-State pick
Meredith Oâ€™Connor and Taylor Queen, two of three two-time selections on this yearâ€™s all-state team, join teammate Karie Pushard as Lenoir-Rhyneâ€™s all-state honorees. The trio helped the Bears (42-14) to their third straight NCAA Division II playoff berth and their third straight regular-season South Atlantic Conference (SAC) title. Oâ€™Connor, the two-time defending SAC Pitcher of the Year, went 30-11 in the circle with a 2.12 earned run average (ERA) and 327 strikeouts in 254.2 innings. Pushard, a Second Team All-SAC catcher, hit .363 with a team-best nine homers and 53 RBIs. Queen earned her third straight First Team National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-South Atlantic Region honor after batting .385 with six homers and 39 RBIs.
First Team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American Brittany Berrier headlines UNC Pembrokeâ€™s three all-state selections. The senior outfielder hit .400 with a school-record 23 doubles and 46 RBIs in the Bravesâ€™ 46-14 campaign. Third-team All-American Jelena Shaw, the all-state teamâ€™s lone sophomore, hit .381 with 11 homers and 42 RBIs. The third baseman also earned a spot on the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional Tournament Team. UNC Pembroke rookie Martika Elmore, the 2008 Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, earned all-region laurels following a 22-5 season with a 1.95 ERA and three saves.
Two-time USA South Athletic Conference Player of the Year Rebekah Kelly of Methodist University earned her second straight all-state commendation. The First Team NFCA All-Atlantic Region outfielder hit .404 and a school-record 10 triples. She and all-state teammate Kayla Talbert helped the Monarchs (35-12) to their third straight NCAA Division III playoff bid and fourth place in the eight-team Fayetteville Regional Tournament. Talbert garnered Second Team NFCA All-Atlantic Region and First Team All-USA South honors after hitting .420 with four homers and 44 RBIs, all team highs.
North Carolina Wesleyanâ€™s Ashlee Bass concluded a brilliant career by hitting .422 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in her senior season. The four-time All-USA South pick made the first-team all-star squad at shortstop this year and helped the Battling Bishops to an 18-19 record. Bass graduated with school career records for batting average (.441), hits (205), doubles (42) and runs (132).
Guilford first baseman Kelly Hale helped the 20-21-1 Quakers to their finest season in the programâ€™s seven-year history. She set school standards for batting average (.420), home runs (9), slugging percentage (.741) and RBIs (43) en route to Second Team NFCA All-Atlantic Region honors.
Mount Olive junior Jenny Jackson rounds out this yearâ€™s all-state squad as the teamâ€™s designated player. The First Team NFCA and Daktronics all-region selection hit .385 with a school record-tying 11 home runs and 46 RBIs for the 29-21 Trojans. Also a top student, Jackson recently earned Second Team Academic All-America recognition from the College Sports Information Directors of America and ESPN The Magazine.