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MSU Billings trio honored academically

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Posted at 7:57 AM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 11:42:30-04

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS - Adding to her list of accolades during the 2021 season, Montana State University Billings softball senior Brittanee Fisher was named academic all-district announced by CoSIDA.

“We are proud of Brittanee for her contributions on the field and in the classroom,” said MSUB head coach Lisa McKinney. “She continues to excel in both and it is great to see her earning awards for her efforts.”

Fisher, a first-team all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference and second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association selection, earned academic all-district honors for the second-straight season. The Billings native was named academic all-GNAC for the third straight season as she carries a 3.81 grade point average while completing her degree in health and human performance.

Fisher led the Yellowjackets and ranked second in the GNAC with 11 home runs, while batting .337 and driving in 29 on her way to first-team all-conference recognition. Fisher slugged .705, which was the sixth-highest slugging percentage in MSUB single-season history. She reached base at a clip of .413, while scoring 20 runs and racking up 67 total bases.

Fisher finished the 2021 season with 31 home runs, ranking her No. 3 in program history. Her 90-career RBIs are 11th most by a Yellowjacket and her career slugging percentage of .583 ranks her sixth in the school record books. Fisher will return to MSUB's lineup in the spring of 2022, as she retained an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Fisher is the first player in program history to earn the academic all-district honor multiple times, after she received the award in the 2020 season. She is the fourth overall player joining Emily Osborn (2015), Layne Pavey (2005), and Theresa Campbell (2003).

The Yellowjackets went 10-26 during the 2021 season and were 6-14 in conference play to take sixth place.

After posting a perfect 4.0 grade point average during her initial collegiate season, freshman Journey Erickson was named a Scholar All-American announced by USA Triathlon and the Collegiate Triathlon Coaches Association.

The award is presented to student-athletes who have achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the 2021 spring semester, regardless of competitions completed during that time frame.

“I am very proud of how well Journey handled the balancing act of academics and competing,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Bjerke. “It is not always an easy transition for a freshman to adjust to new study habits, let alone while learning an entirely new sport. Our fall competition season was canceled, but Journey ended up traveling to quite a few competitions in the late spring between triathlon and track which I know was stressful for her at times. She obviously handled that stress very well and now has a lot to show for it. This is a well-deserved honor.”

Erickson won MSUB’s Buzzie award for Women’s Triathlon Athlete of the Year, after excelling in both of her meets during her freshman spring season. Erickson’s top performance came at the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon where she finished her first collegiate race in a time of 1:10:11.3 to take 10th place in her age group. A native of Hardin, Erickson also competed in six outdoor meets with the MSUB women’s track and field team.

Erickson is majoring in pre-nursing, and maintained her perfect GPA throughout both semesters of the academic year. This is the first Scholar All-American award for the Yellowjacket women’s triathlon program. The 2020-21 season was MSUB’s second competing in women’s triathlon, which was added to the athletic department’s array of 16 varsity sports beginning during the 2019-20 campaign.

The Scholar All-American award recognizes student-athletes in each of the three NCAA divisions who excel in the classroom. The NCAA named triathlon as an emerging sport for women in 2014, a designation that gives the sport a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. A total of 37 colleges and universities across the country currently sponsor the sport at the varsity level.

After a standout campaign on the diamond for MSUB's baseball team, senior shortstop Will Riley was named a CoSIDA academic all-district selection announced by the organization.

Riley was among six players from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference selected for the award and is the fourth player in Yellowjacket baseball history to receive the honor. “The most impressive thing about Will Riley is his ability to lock in and be present in the moment,” said MSUB head coach Derek Waddoups. “Nothing demonstrates this as much as his academic ability. Will is an outstanding student who takes pride in his education. We are grateful for the standard of excellence that Will set for our entire program as a student first, teammate, and worker.”

Riley maintained a 3.72 grade point average while completing his undergraduate degree in health and human performance, and was named an academic all-GNAC selection as well.

Riley became the fourth All-American in program history, after an historic season on the field for the ‘Jackets. The Lismore, Australia native led the Yellowjackets with a .401 batting average this spring, becoming the third player in school history to eclipse the .400 mark over the course of an entire season. His 63 hits, 16 doubles, and 104 total bases were the most in the GNAC. Boasting a combination of contact and power hitting at the top of MSUB's lineup, Riley reached base at a clip of .484 while slugging .662, with both figures ranking him top-10 in the conference. His seven home runs and 33 RBIs were third-most on the team, and he stole three bases while scoring a team-high 42 runs. Riley was 1 of 3 Yellowjackets to start all 40 games during the season, playing a variety of roles defensively with the majority of his reps coming at shortstop. Riley's 61 assists were second most on the team, and he posted a .905 fielding percentage in 128 total chances. A consensus first-team all-region selection, Riley was honored by the NCBWA, American Baseball Coaches Association, and the Division II Conference Commissioners Association among the top players in the NCAA D2 west region. In his second year in the program, Riley was named first-team all-GNAC and he took home a GNAC Player of the Week award on March 1. Riley joined Daniel Cipriano, Kaleo Johnson, and Brody Miller as the fourth player in MSUB baseball history to earn All-America recognition. MSUB’s other CoSIDA academic all-district selections were 2019 honorees Matt Dillon and Steen Fredrickson, and 2007 selection Ben Lewerke.