May 8, 2012
IRVING, Texas - Eight seniors, including five repeat selections, are joined by a junior and two sophomores on the 2012 Conference USA Softball All-Academic team. The academic squad is selected by the sports information contacts at each of the nine softball schools. In order to be eligible for the recognition, student-athletes must hold a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, be of at least sophomore academic standing and have competed in at least 60 percent of games this season as a starter or key reserve.
Complete All-Academic Team Release
Seniors Jennifer Klinkert of Houston, UCF's Natalie Land and Mandy Lowman of UAB each earned a third consecutive spot on the All-Academic team. Klinkert is also a four-time C-USA Academic Medal winner with her 3.84 GPA as a nutrition major. She graduated this past semester with 4.0 GPA during her final term to help her team post the best team GPA in program history. Klinkert will attend UH for graduate school in sports nutrition field and already interns with UH Athletics' Sports Dietician. The Chino, Calif., native leads the Cougars and ranks second in C-USA in doubles and leads the NCAA in sacrifice flies.
One of the most successful players on the field in UCF history, Land is also one of the most successful students in the classroom. Land is an athletic training major with a 3.703 mark, earning a C-USA All-Academic Team selection and Commissioner's Academic Medal three years in a row. The Mayo, Fla., native has started every game of her college career, which is 220 consecutive games entering the C-USA Championship. Land holds the UCF school records for stolen bases in a season and career and is approaching the C-USA mark of 104 career stolen bases.
Lowman is a two-time all-conference selection, including a first-team nod in 2010. She maintains a 3.76 GPA as a mathematics/secondary education major and was a 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second Team honoree. That same season, she also won the 2010 C-USA Spirit of Service Award. She leads team in batting average (.359) and holds UAB career records in home runs, RBI, pick offs, chances and putouts. The Huntsville, Ala., native played in all 227 games of her four-year career, making 225 starts and 200 consecutive starts since March 24, 2009.
Lowman's teammate Catherine Crawford makes her debut on the All-Academic Team with a 3.89 GPA as a psychology/sociology major. A three-time recipient of the C-USA Academic Medal and three-time C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll selection, she earned UAB presidential honors (4.00 GPA) four times. The Hueytown, Ala., native started all 55 games this season, splitting time between shortstop and left field. Her four triples on the season are a team-best and she holds UAB's career triples record.
Southern Miss senior center fielder Leslie LeJune has started 155 consecutive games, dating back to her freshman season. She was an Academic All-American and C-USA All-Academic team member in 2011, as well as a C-USA Second Team member. LeJune leads the Golden Eagles this season in at-bats (156), hits (43) and ties for first on the team with seven doubles. The Houston, Texas, native is second on the team in batting average (.276), RBI (19) and slugging percentage (.365).
Marshall senior Rebecca Gamby holds a 3.72 GPA as she works towards a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology. She has excelled in the classroom each year at Marshall by being named to the Commissioners Honor Roll all four years and was a two-time recipient of the C-USA Academic Medal. As a sophomore, she was named to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team. Gamby currently leads the team in batting average (.354) and ranks second in RBI (25), home runs (6) and doubles (10). She hails from Mount Victory, Ohio.
Gamby's teammate Jessica Hughes made her debut on the all-academic team this season, while both have been selected for CoSIDA Academic All-District first team honors. Hughes has already received her bachelor's degree in accounting and finance and is slated to finish her Master's in May for accounting. She has earned the Academic Medal and was named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll all three years she has been eligible. Hughes became the second person in Marshall history to steal 100 career bases and the fifth to participate in 200 games. The Stillwater, Okla., native received the 2012 FSA Student Award from Marshall.
Tulsa's Cassidy Bowen is the lone junior on this year's C-USA All-Academic Team. The Claremore, Okla., native is a two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Tulsa Dean's List and Athletic Director's List. The finance and pre-med major is having her best season both behind the plate and in the batter's box for the Hurricane. Bowen is a team leader on and off the field and was given the responsibility of calling pitches. An exceptional defensive catcher, she has caught 19 runners stealing and allowed just four passed balls all season.
Bowen is joined on the all-academic squad by teammate Jill Barrett. The sophomore third baseman from Greenwood, Ark., was named to the all-conference second team and all-freshman team a season ago. She has also been on the Tulsa Dean's List and Athletic Director's List. Barrett ranks among C-USA leaders in batting average (.438), hits (74), including a 25-game hitting streak, runs (41) and on-base percentage (.484).
East Carolina sophomore Jill Jelnick maintains a perfect 4.00 GPA as an English education major. She is a three-time ECU Chancellor's List (4.0 GPA) honoree, was a 2011 NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete and is eligible for 2012 Academic All-America honors after earning a spot on the All-District first team. Jelnick leads the Pirates with 51 hits, including a team-best 13 multiple-hit games. During the UAB series, the Aliso Viejo, Calif., native tallied a team-best four RBI. Against Tulsa, she hit .375 with three hits and three runs scored in the last two contests.
Rounding out the 2012 C-USA Softball All-Academic team is UTEP senior Chelsea Troupe, who was one of just two-student athletes to start every game for the Miners this season. She ranks among the conference's Top 5 in 11 major offensive categories. Troupe, who hails from Oceanside, Calif., was named the 2009 C-USA Freshman of the Year. An Education major, she was a three-time selection to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll.
The 2012 Conference USA Softball Championship will be held May 10-12 at the UAB Softball Field in Birmingham, Ala.
A complete list of the Softball All-Academic honorees is below:
2012 Conference USA Softball All-Academic Team (*Repeat Selection)
NAME - SCHOOL - YEAR - GPA - MAJOR
Jill Jelnick - East Carolina - Sophomore - 4.00 - English Education
**Jennifer Klinkert - Houston - Senior - 3.84 - Nutrition
*Rebecca Gamby - Marshall - Senior - 3.72 - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Jessica Hughes - Marshall - Grad - 3.90 - Accounting
*Leslie LeJune - Southern Miss - Senior - 3.67 - Kinesiotherapy
Jill Barrett - Tulsa - Sophomore - 3.64 - Exercise & Sports Science; Education
Cassidy Bowen - Tulsa - Junior - 3.62 - Business-Finance; Pre-Med
Catherine Crawford - UAB - Senior - 3.89 - Psychology/Sociology
**Mandy Lowman - UAB - Senior - 3.76 - Mathematics/Secondary Education
**Natalie Land - UCF - Senior - 3.70 - Athletic Training
Chelsea Troupe - UTEP - Senior - 3.43 - Education