LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky softball All-American pitcher Kelsey Nunley has been named a finalist for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award, it was announced on Tuesday afternoon by Premier Sports Management – overseers of the award.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The final 30 candidates were chosen by national media members. After the month of March is complete, media will narrow the list down to 10 finalists based on on- and off-field performance, where fans voting will decide the winner of the prestigious award. The winner will be announced during the Women’s College World Series
Kelsey Nunley’s Senior CLASS Characteristics
Kelsey Nunley already has received two undergraduate degrees from the University of Kentucky. She has been on the SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as well as having above a 3.0 GPA in all of her undergraduate semesters so far. Nunley is the only player on the team with two degrees already, one in communications and the other in community and leadership development.
Nunley won the CATSPY Award in 2015 for Ms. Wildcat, which is the highest honor that UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart gives female athletes at Kentucky in the annual awards ceremony at the end of each academic calendar year. She also was a finalist for Ms. Wildcat in 2014 after her breakout sophomore season. Nunley is an incredibly wonderful person to be around on a day-to-day basis, and she is always wearing a smile. She is extremely organized and timely to all team functions on and off the field, whether it is games and practices or academic and social obligations. She is always chosen to represent the Wildcats in the media room after wins and losses and handles herself with grace and dignity on and off the camera and behind the microphone. She has taken on the role of captain for the second year in a row, and is continuing to lead Kentucky to places that the program has never seen before.
Nunley has dozens of community service hours in the Lexington area, as well as in her home of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. She has helped out with the United Way, God’s Pantry, the Lexington Miracle League, Breakfast with Santa at UK Children’s Hospital, Salvation Army and the Christian Student Fellowship. In all of her years at Kentucky, Nunley has assisted in community service with the Kentucky Backpack Program, through which student-athletes pack lunches for local kids at elementary schools who aren’t privileged enough to afford their own lunches. Nunley takes the time to pack those lunch sacks and then deliver them to the schools in the Lexington area. Additionally, this summer, she spent her break helping clean Commonwealth Stadium and prepare it for UK’s opening football game after a multi-million dollar renovation.
Nunley has achieved essentially everything she can in the circle for the Wildcats, including leading Kentucky to its first-ever Women’s College World Series in 2014, pitching every single pitch of the postseason for UK. This includes every pitch of the 2014 SEC Tournament, in which the team made the championship game, a four-game NCAA Regional and a three-game Super Regional win over No. 3 seeded UCLA on the road. She has been named the SEC Pitcher of the Week on three occasions, was on the 2014 Women’s College World Series All-Tournament Team in 2014, All-SEC Second Team in 2014 and 2015, and was named to the 2015 SEC Coaches’ Preseason All-SEC Team. Nunley is 71-38 in her career for the Wildcats with 94 career starts and a career ERA of just 2.12 in the SEC, which is widely considered the best hitting conference in the country. Nunley is Kentucky’s all-time wins leader with 71, passing Chanda Bell in 2015, and also holds the UK strikeout record with 606 K’s in her career including 219 of them in 2014. Nunley was named an All-American in 2014 after leading the Wildcats to the Women’s College World Series, the first in program history.
Kentucky will travel to the Frost Classic next weekend in Chattanooga, Tenn., and play five games beginning on Feb. 26 with a doubleheader against Lipscomb and Miami (OH). The Wildcats will also play against Eastern Illinois, Chattanooga and Evansville to close the weekend.