The final day of May was a red-letter day for the Nebraska softball program, as a total of 13 Husker student-athletes were recognized with postseason awards. A record-tying 12 Huskers were named to the 2017 academic All-Big Ten team, while MJ Knighten became the first Senior CLASS All-American in program history.
12 Huskers Named to Academic All-Big Ten Team
The Nebraska softball program's tradition of excellence in the classroom continued on Wednesday, May 31, when the conference announced that 12 Husker student-athletes earned 2017 academic All-Big Ten recognition.
The 12 academic all-conference selections tie for the most in program history and mark the second straight year Nebraska has had a dozen academic All-Big Ten honorees. Eleven of the 12 selections have earned academic All-Big Ten honors every eligible season of their Husker careers.
To be eligible for academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Nebraska softball has produced a total of 56 academic All-Big Ten recipients in its seven seasons as a member of the conference.
Highlighting the list of honorees were Rachel Arthur, Lotte Sjulin and Austen Urness, who were each named to the academic All-Big Ten team for the third time in their careers. Laura Barrow, Caitlin Bartsch, Kaylan Jablonski, Taylor Kadavy, Gina Metzler and Taylor Otte all made the team for the second straight season, while Bri Cassidy, Cassie McClure and Alyvia Simmons earned academic All-Big Ten accolades for the first time.
Knighten Named Senior CLASS Award All-American
Nebraska third baseman MJ Knighten was one of 10 seniors named a 2017 Senior CLASS Award All-American on Wednesday, May 31. Knighten is the first Husker to be named a Senior CLASS Award All-American since the award's inception in 2007.
Previously, Knighten had been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award, becoming the first finalist in program history. In addition the release of the All-America teams, Florida State's Alex Powers was announced as the winner of the 2017 Senior CLASS Award.
Knighten was not only the first Senior CLASS Award finalist in Nebraska softball history, she also became the Huskers' first four-time All-Big Ten selection after taking home second-team honors this season. Knighten his .319 as a senior and led Nebraska with 51 hits, 37 runs, six home runs, 24 walks, a .410 on-base percentage and 11 stolen bases. She also ranked second on the team with 28 RBIs and a .506 slugging percentage and was third with 10 doubles.
A native of Buena Park, Calif., Knighten enjoyed a decorated career with the Huskers. In addition to her four All-Big Ten awards, Knighten was a three-time all-region honoree, and she was named a first-team All-American in 2016 by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Knighten ended her career ranked third all-time at Nebraska in runs (183), RBIs (186) and total bases (423), fifth in batting average (.357), hits (253), home runs (41), extra-base hits (81) and slugging percentage (.597), seventh in walks (101) and 10th in triples (7).