Nearly three weeks after its memorable 37-17 season that culminated in a run to the NCAA South Central Regional, the TWU softball team continues to collect awards. Sophomore shortstop Bailey Vrazel and senior catcher Tiffany Weise were named to the Capitol One Academic All-America second team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
“Our team takes as much pride in academics as they do on the field,” TWU head coach Richie Bruister said. “Making regionals was a tall task, but we fell short [of advancing]. When you talk about a group effort, that team is pushing everyone to perform. We feel like we are doing the best job in the country at helping our athletes.”
Academic All-Americans are chosen from first-team academic all-district selections in eight regions. To be eligible for consideration, the student-athlete must maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.30, must be a varsity starter or key reserve, and must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at their school.
Vrazel and Weise are the fourth and fifth TWU softball players to earn Academic All-America honors, joining Cathy Jacobson (1999, 2000), Nickie Engelbrecht (2001) and Billie Callahan (2010).
“It goes along with the Division II saying that you’re a student first.” Bruister said. “You can’t find two harder workers at these respective positions. There is no replacement for hard work, and it makes all those extra hours staying up studying worth it.”
Majoring in kinesiology with a 4.00 cumulative GPA, Vrazel started every game for TWU for the second consecutive year. She led all collegiate softball players in steals while breaking her own TWU and Lone Star Conference single-season records.
Vrazel racked up several awards this season, including being named the LSC Academic Player of the Year and being selected to the Daktronics All-America second team, NFCA All-South Central Region first team and LSC first team.
“That’s one thing we talk about when they get here, is making a resume, and this is the ultimate award you can get,” Bruister said. “When you can say you’re the best on the field and the best in the classroom, she definitely sets the standard high. You don’t see many young players acknowledged on the team like that.”
At a one of the most cerebral positions on the field, Weise showcased her smarts in 51 games this season and received all-conference honorable mention. Set to graduate in December with a computer science degree, her 3.621 GPA earned her a spot on the LSC all-academic team.
“She had a great year this year, but now she can say she’s the smartest and the best catcher in the conference,” Bruister said. “The one difference in sports is you think on your feet, and that’s why she’s going to do well in the work world.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP may be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .