LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Ten student-athletes, one from each of the 10 regions, have been selected by the NFCA Division III All-America Committee as finalists for the 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Freshman of the Year award.
The accolade recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by freshmen in NCAA Division III. To be eligible, student-athletes must come from an NFCA-member institution.
Trinity (Conn.) shortstop Taylor Mikolajczak (Region I), Massachusetts Institute of Technology second baseman Mackenzie Bivin (Region II), Rochester shortstop Ally Kim (Region III), Kean second baseman Eliza Filus (Region IV), Moravian pitcher Madi Cunningham (Region V), Christopher Newport pitcher Jamie Martin (Region VI), Case Western Reserve pitcher Lexi Miskey (Region VII), Millikin outfielder Kendallyn Davison (Region VIII), Loras pitcher Ashlyn Hemm (Region IX) and Belhaven first baseman Ellie Jones (Region X) are all in the running to be the winner on May 26.
All 10 were elected to an NFCA All-Region team by the member head coaches in their area. Davison, Filus, Hemm, Jones and Martin were first teamers, while Bivin, Cunningham, Kim and Miskey made the second team, and Mikolajczak earned third-team recognition. All except Hemm were named their conference’s Rookie or First-Year Player of the Year (the American Rivers Conference doesn’t offer that award) and chosen for conference first-team honors. Miskey was also the University Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year this season.
All 10 remain in the running for NFCA All-America honors, which will be revealed on May 24.
Virginia Wesleyan pitcher Kandis Kresinske was the inaugural Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Freshman of the Year recipient in 2016. Other winners are fellow Marlins pitcher Hanna Hull (2017), UT Tyler catcher Ashley Perez (2018), Christopher Newport third baseman Kaitlyn Hasty (2019) and Husson utility player Kenzie Dore (2021). No award was presented in 2020 due to the COVID-19 cancellation of the season.
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaches polls and All-America awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to awards, to in-person events and National Convention.