June 7, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois University softball players Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) and Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) were named to the Mid-American Conference's 2013 Academic All-MAC Team the league announced Friday.
"For Nicole and Amanda to make the Academic All-MAC Team shows how good of a student-athlete they are both on and off the field," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "We preach that your leaders are in the classroom on the field and in the community. I think this is great for them."
A first-team All-MAC selection, Gremillion ranks fifth on NIU's all-time single list for runs scored (41) and third on the school's all-time list for runs scored in a career (115). She played in a career high 58 games, starting 57, also a career high. Gremillion, a pre-communications major, established career-highs in home runs (5), RBIs (30), at bats (181) and doubles (13) while tying career high in triples (4).
"With Nicole making it back-to-back years it shows she's getting it done," Sutcliffe said. "Sometimes it's hard to follow up a great year and she's done that. That speaks to her character on the field."
The junior outfielder led the team in runs scored and second on the squad and eighth in the MAC in hitting with a .337 batting average and in total hits with 61. This is Gremillion's second straight Academic All-MAC accolade as she was an honoree last year.
This is the first conference honor in Sheppard's career. The senior shortstop started all 58 games for the Huskies in 2013 and has made 127 straight starts dating back to April April 22, 2011. She established career highs in at bats (172), hits (51), home runs (5), put outs (113) and RBIs (27). Sheppard, a kinesiology-preventative rehab exercise major, led the team and finished tied for fifth in the MAC in doubles with 12.
"Shep definitely went into her senior year with something to prove," she said. "She's learned during her career here what needed to occur for her to be successful in the classroom and she worked really hard at it. She made a commitment to leave this program better than she found it and she's definitely done that."
Named to the 2013 MAC All-Tournament Team, Sheppard helped lead NIU to the championship game of the 2013 MAC Softball Tournament. She batted .375 (6-for-16) in five games at the tournament, well above her season average of .297. She tallied five multi-RBI games, driving in a season-high three runs on four occasions and recorded 10 multi-hit games, including a perfect 3-for-3, three RBI performance against Toledo during the regular season.
Five other Huskies, Kristyn Barrett (Monticello, Ill./Monticello), Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South), Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa), Bryanna Phelan (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) and Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) all earned Honorable Mention accolades.
Selection to the Academic All-MAC Team, which is voted on by the conference's faculty athletic representatives, requires the student-athlete achieve a minimum cumulative 3.20 GPA and have participated in at least 50 percent of the contests for that sport. First-year students and junior college transfers in their first year of residence are not eligible for the award.