(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – A record 15 players from the Montana State University Billings softball team were named academic all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference for the 2020-21 school year announced by the conference office on Tuesday.
It was the most selections for the Yellowjackets since they joined the conference prior to the 2008 season, as the team surpassed last year’s mark of 12 selections. “We are very proud of our athletes for earning this incredible honor,” said MSUB head coach Lisa McKinney. “Balancing academics and athletics is the most important part of being a student-athlete and it is inspiring to see these women be successful at both. Congratulations to all the athletes who received this honor during such a trying year – it speaks magnitudes towards their character.”
Among MSUB’s selections were three players picked for the third straight season, seven repeat selections, and five newcomers to achieve the award. To be eligible for academic all-GNAC players must be in at least their second season on the field with their team and carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher.
Seniors Brittanee Fisher, Allie Hughes, and Georgiabelle Benning led the way each being selected for the third time in their career. Fisher and Hughes are tied for the GNAC lead in home runs with eight, while Hughes is tied for fourth in the league with 24 RBIs and Fisher ranks eighth with 22. Hughes is a health and human performance major with a 3.58 GPA, while Fisher holds a 3.81 GPA while also studying within the HHP major. Benning has seen action in eight games this spring and has scored three runs. She maintains a 3.55 GPA and is also an HHP major.
Seniors Hailee Gregerson, Sydney Norwood, and Payton Reynolds, and juniors Alyssa Etheridge, Payton Meyer, Cailee Morgan, and Morgan Quimby represented the Yellowjackets as repeat selections on the academic list.
Gregerson ranks third on the team with five home runs and 17 RBIs, while holding a .274 batting average. She is an HHP major and holds a 3.61 GPA. Reynolds has seen playing time in 14 games this spring, and is hitting .276 with one home run and seven RBIs. She is an HHP major with a 3.56 GPA. Norwood is among the top sluggers on the team at .643, with five of her nine hits on the season going for extra bases. Norwood is an HHP major with a 3.59 GPA.
Etheridge is one of the key members of the MSUB pitching staff, holding a 5.25 ERA with a team-high 35 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings pitched. Etheridge is an HHP major and has a 3.53 GPA. Quimby has started 22 games primarily at second base, and is a .250 hitter with one home run and five RBIs. Quimby holds a 3.81 GPA and is a marketing major. Meyer has played in seven games this spring and has a 3.46 GPA in the HHP program, while Morgan has been limited to one game while holding a 3.81 GPA in the business management program.
MSUB’s first-time academic selections included senior Taylor Anderson, junior Skyler Jenkins, and sophomores Shelby Marquardt, Marin Penney, and Julia Qualteri.
In her second season in the program, Anderson is batting .352 with 12 RBIs and most recently had a walk-off single in Sunday’s series-finale win over Western Oregon. Anderson owns a 3.49 GPA and is a liberal studies major. Jenkins has started 21 games this spring, and has two home runs with six RBIs. She is an HHP major and has a 3.21 GPA.
Penney, who was named the GNAC Player of the Week on Monday, ranks fourth on the team with a .318 batting average including four home runs and eight RBIs. Penney is an HHP major with a 3.73 GPA. Qualteri has started nine games in the circle for the ‘Jackets, holding a 6.30 GPA with 18 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings pitched. She is a marketing major with a 3.77 GPA. In her second year in the program, Marquardt has played in 10 games and started four while scoring a pair of runs. She is an HHP major with a 3.98 GPA.
MSUB tied Central Washington for the most selections to the academic all-GNAC team. The Yellowjackets (9-19, 5-7 GNAC) are in fourth place in the league standings with eight regular-season games left on the schedule. MSUB is off this weekend, before hosting Saint Martin’s University in a four-game home series on April 24-25 at Avitus Group Stadium.