Four softball students from three Big Ten Conference schools have been selected as Academic All-Americans following Thursday’s announcement by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). This marks the fifth consecutive year and the ninth time in conference history the Big Ten has had at least three softball Academic All-Americans.
Illinois senior outfielder Nicole Evans earned first-team Academic All-America honors, becoming the second Fighting Illini softball student in three years to receive first-team accolades (Allie Bauch was a first-team choice in 2015). Evans, a 2017 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award recipient, graduated from Illinois earlier this month with her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.
Michigan State junior outfielder Lea Foerster was a second-team Academic All-America selection, while her Spartan classmate, pitcher Kristina Zalewski, was a third-team honoree. This is the third time in program history and first since 2003 that MSU has produced two softball Academic All-Americans in the same season. Foerster is pursuing her undergraduate degree in kinesiology, while Zalewski, who currently maintains a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, is majoring in nutritional sciences.
Minnesota senior pitcher Sara Groenewegen rounded out this year’s Big Ten softball Academic All-America contingent, also collecting third-team plaudits. The Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of this year’s Big Ten Tournament, Groenewegen graduated from Minnesota earlier this month, receiving her bachelor’s degree in sport management.
All four Big Ten softball students earned the first Academic All-America citations of their respective careers.
The complete CoSIDA Academic All-America Team can be found by CLICKING HERE.