LOUISVILLE, Ky. — University of Rio Grande freshman shortstop Michaela Criner has been named to the 2017 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) NAIA All-American Second Team.
The NFCA revealed its first and second team selections late Monday afternoon.
Criner, who along with three of her RedStorm teammates were named to the NFCA’s All-Great Lakes Region team last week, is just the second player from Rio Grande to ever be recognized on the Association’s All-America team.
Jenny Olding, a 2013 inductee to the URG Athletic Hall of Fame, was Rio’s only other NFCA All-American when she earned a first team selection in 2006.
Criner, a native of Lancaster, Ohio, hit a team-high .477, while also leading the RedStorm in hits (74), triples (4) and slugging percentage (.652). She also had 10 doubles, three home runs and 32 runs batted in.
Criner led the River States Conference in batting average and hits, was second in triples and finished third in slugging percentage. Her batting average also ranked seventh nationally.
Rio Grande won a school-record 47 games this season, while also recording a school-record 26-game winning streak, a second straight regular season conference title and a third consecutive conference tournament championship.
The RedStorm, which also enjoyed the highest ranking in school history at No. 17 entering post-season play, got to within one win of a trip to the NAIA World Series before falling to eighth-ranked Davenport (Mich.) University in the championship second final of the Grand Rapids Bracket in the NAIA Softball National Tournament’s Opening Round.
Thirty-two players from 21 institutions were honored by the NFCA.
Two-time defending champion Oklahoma City University led the way with five All-Americans, three of which made the first team. Columbia College (Mo.) earned three honors, two on the first team. Eastern Oregon University, Reinhardt University, Peru State College and Campbellsville University each earned two nods.
Additionally, OCU’s Jaci Smith was selected Diamond Catcher of the Year and Niki Cook of Georgia Gwinnett College was named the New Balance/NFCA Golden Shoe Award recipient.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.