LEXINGTON, Ky. – Premier Sports Management has released that Kentucky softball pitcher Kelsey Nunley has been named to the 2016 Senior CLASS Award All-American First Team, it was announced on Thursday. The honor comes less than 24 hours after Nunley became the first-ever National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association First Team All-American at Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon.
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. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Kelsey Nunley is working on two undergraduate degrees from the University of Kentucky, one in communications and the other in community and leadership development. 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.
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, while handling herself with grace and dignity no matter the circumstance. She has taken on the role of captain for the second year in a row, and is continued to lead Kentucky to places that the program has never seen before. At Kentucky, captains are not only voted on by the team but staff members as well.
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, she spent time helping clean Commonwealth Stadium and prepare it for UK’s opening football game after a multi-million-dollar renovation.
The senior from Soddy Daisy, Tenn., pitched a fantastic senior season for Kentucky, ending the year with a 21-6 overall record and a program single-season best 1.26 ERA in her 37 appearances in the circle for the Blue and White. Nunley started 23 games for UK, throwing 13 complete games and seven shutouts.
With her 181.1 innings pitched, Nunley overtook the NCAA active pitchers career innings lead, as she ended her career with a whopping 943.1 innings thrown in her four years in Lexington. She started 117 games in her four-year career with 21 shutouts and 86 complete games for the Wildcats.
In 2016 alone, Nunley set or surpassed new program bests for single-season ERA, career innings pitched, appearances, wins and saves. She was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week two times in back-to-back weeks and led all SEC pitchers in conference play with 188 strikeouts. She was named to the All-SEC First Team for the first time in her career and was top 10 in the NCAA for ERA.
The USSSA Pride out of Kissimmee, Fla., selected Nunley fifth overall in the first round of the 2016 National Pro Fastpitch Draft – the highest-drafted player to ever come out of Kentucky. Nunley signed her first professional contract with the Pride last Thursday.
2016 Senior CLASS Award winner:
Haley McCleney, Alabama
Senior CLASS Award First Team Senior All-Americans:
Caitlin Attfield, UAB
Jailyn Ford, James Madison University
Kelsey Nunley, University of Kentucky
Kelsey Susalla, University of Michigan
Senior CLASS Award Second Team Senior All-Americans:
Elena Bowman, Manhattan College
Megan Cooley, Boston College
Kasey McCravey. Army
Erin Miller, University of Oklahoma
Heather Stearns, Baylor University