UCA players earn academic honors

The Southland Conference recently announced its All-Academic Softball teams, and a pair of Central Arkansas Bears was named to the teams. Senior Jessie Taylor was named to the first team, while junior Briana Whisenhunt earned second team honors.

Taylor, from Bryant, earned All-Academic honors for the second consecutive year, after a year in which she had a 3.69 GPA while completing her degree in biology. On the field, she made a mark in the UCA record books this season, setting career records for home runs (36) and runs batted in (170).

For the season, the Bears’ backstop hit .293, smashed 12 home runs and added 11 doubles and a triple while slugging .587. She ranked in the top-10 in the Southland in home runs, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage, while leading the league in runners caught stealing.

A native of Crandall, Texas, Whisenhunt is also making her second appearance on the league’s All-Academic teams following a classroom performance that saw her compile a 3.56 GPA in pursuit of a degree in health education. On the field, she led the Bears with a .312 batting average, while stealing 25 bases, scoring 40 runs and reaching base at a .398 clip.

She ranked in the Top 10 in the Southland in at-bats, runs and stolen bases.

The Southland All-Academic teams are voted on by the league’s head coaches, sports information directors and academic/compliance administrators.

Student-athletes must possess a 3.0 cumulative GPA, have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution and participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s competitions to qualify for the teams.