LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Spartan softball, the 2017 Southern Conference Regular Season Champions, had six players earn the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s (NFCA) All-America Scholar Athlete award for their efforts in the classroom during the 2016-17 season. To qualify for the award, individuals had to earn a 3.5 or higher grade point average.
Mackenzie Winslow (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman), Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage), Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox), Kylie Bouplon (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country Day), Jasmine Palmer (Biltmore Lake, N.C./Candler) Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) Sidney Grkman (Salisbury, N.C./Jesse Carson) and Hagan Kiser (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern) all took home the award.
Grkman and Kiser played four seasons for the Spartans, with 2017 being their final year. Grkman was an outfielder who played in 38 games, making 31 starts for the Spartans. She hit at a .293 average and belted three home runs. Kiser had more of a reserve role, appearing in 25 games, making 14 starts. The infielder hit .214 with a homer last season.
Winslow is a pitcher who earned a perfect 4.00 GPA, while majoring in business administration. She appeared in six games and earned a 1-2 record in 2017 for the Spartans as a junior. Bazonski added a 3.92 GPA as a public health major last season. The Spartan ace was the SoCon’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year in 2017. She led the team with 40 appearances and 34 starts. She earned a 3.32 earned run average while logging 204.1 innings of work and struck out a team-best 113 hitters.
Along with being named third team All-MidEast Region by the NFCA and a second team All-SoCon selection, Palmer earned a 3.92 GPA with her major in communications. Palmer hit for a .301 average in her first season with the Spartans, leading the league with a .511 on-base percentage, as she served as the Spartans leadoff hitter. Palmer was fourth in the country in hit-by-pitches per game at 0.44.
A trio of freshman earned the award in their first season in Greensboro. Gontram started 46 games in her rookie season, and belted nine home runs and drove in 27. The infielder earned a perfect 4.00 GPA and is currently majoring in business administration. Willis finished her freshman year with a 4.00 GPA and is currently majoring in marketing. On the field, Willis appeared in 27 games, hitting at a .233 average and hitting three homers. Bouplon notched a 3.64 GPA, majoring in sociology. She made 30 appearances in the circle, second-most on the team. The freshman earned an 8-6 record and tossed six complete games and was the second-most used pitcher for the Spartans.