May 6, 2010
LAS VEGAS -
Four senior UNLV softball student-athletes were named to the ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District Eight Teams on Thursday. Jaci Hull, Marissa Nichols and Tara Bendt were tabbed to the first team, while Kendall Fearn was selected to the second team. Hull, Nichols and Bendt are now eligible for CoSIDA Academic All-America status by virtue of being placed on the district's first team. This is the third consecutive year that Hull has been named to the top squad, while Nichols improved to the first team from her second team showing in 2009. As for Bendt and Fearn, this is the first time the duo has been recognized.
All four student-athletes are no stranger to receiving academic recognition, as they each have been named to the Mountain West Conference's Academic All-Conference Teams numerous times.
Hull, a short stop from Scottsdale, Ariz., holds a 3.57 cumulative GPA in kinesiology. This season she has started all 47 games for the Rebels and leads the team in runs (43), RBI (34), walks (25) and on-base percentage (.464), while tying for the top spot in triples (3), home runs (10) and hit-by-pitch (5). She ranks highly in batting average (.350), hits (48), doubles (11) and slugging (.693).
Nichols, an outfielder from Diamond Bar, Calif., graduated with her undergraduate degree in human services counseling (3.63 GPA) in 2008 and is finishing up her second year on her master's in school counseling. On the year she has played in and started 44 games for UNLV and leads the team in hits (52), doubles (18), total bases (104) and slugging (.722). She is tied for the team lead in home runs (10) and hit-by-pitch (5). She ranks near the top in runs (34) and RBI (29).
Bendt, an outfielder from Kearns, Utah, owns a 3.60 GPA in communications. On the year, she has played in and started 43 games, while leading the team in batting average (.398) and stolen bases (6). She is tied for the team lead in triples (3) and is second in runs (35) and hits (49).
Fearn, a first baseman from Carlsbad, Calif., graduated with her undergraduate degree in psychology (3.42 GPA) in 2009 and is finishing up her first year of graduate work towards a master's in sports education leadership. She has started all 47 games this season and owns a .281 batting average with 10 doubles and five home runs. She has knocked in 32 RBI and scored 21 runs, as well.
Hull, Nichols and Bendt are looking to join four former Rebel softball student-athletes in the CoSIDA All-America listings, as Tammy Bahde (1987), Lisa Wilkins-Eams (1993), Kim Rondina (1996 & 1997) and Charelle Ainslie (2000) were honored in the past.
The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) selects Academic All-America teams in 12 programs throughout the year. Players who are starters or important reserves on their teams and are at least in their second year at a school and hold at least a 3.30 career GPA are eligible for the academic awards, which are voted on by sports information directors from across the nation.
UNLV's district includes four-year institutions from the states of California, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Idaho and Nevada.