May 6, 2011
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Friday that senior Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) and junior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) of the UCF softball team were named to the Capital One Academic All-District III First Team. The announcement marks the first time in program-history that two Knights were named to the first team in the same season.
With their selection to the Capital One Academic All-District III First Team, the pair is now eligible to be voted onto one of the CoSIDA Academic All-America teams.
McClain is no stranger to earning accolades for her successes on and off of the playing field, as she is making her second-straight appearance on the Academic All-District III First Team after being named to the second team as a sophomore in 2009. The catcher holds an impressive 3.80 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and is set to graduate with a degree in biology.
The senior has been the recipient of the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal for maintaining a 3.75 GPA or better four-consecutive years, while also being a four-time C-USA Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll member. McClain has also earned a spot on the C-USA All-Academic Team two-straight seasons and was named one of C-USA's Spring Spirit of Service Award recipients in 2010.
On the field, McClain will conclude her career as a Knight ranked in UCF's top-10 in 23 career categories. She has been named to the All-C-USA Second Team in both 2009 and 2010, while also being honored with a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman Team in 2008. This season, the senior leads the Knights in home runs, RBI (23), walks and fielding percentage and is second in total bases (61), slugging percentage (.508) and sacrifice flies (2).
Land was named to the first team for the first time in her career for maintaining a 3.67 cumulative GPA as an athletic training major, while also proving to be one of the top offensive producers on the team and in C-USA.
The junior has twice been the recipient of the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal, while also being named to the Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll on three occasions. Like McClain, Land was also a member of the C-USA All-Academic Team in 2010.
Land had put together the most impressive season of her career in 2011, as she leads C-USA in all games in triples (5), while ranking second in stolen bases (24), third in hits (52) and on-base percentage (.455) and fourth in batting average (.366). Land also leads the league in C-USA only games in on-base percentage (.542) and is second in batting average (.411) and walks (15)
The pair of selections mark the ninth and 10th times that a member of the softball team has earned Academic All-District III honors. Stephanie Best was a first-team pick in 2003 and 2004 and was selected to the second team in 2005. Kacie Feaster was a first team selection in 2007, and Cat Snapp and McClain were second-team picks in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
In order to be nominated for a spot on an Capital One Academic All-District team, student-athletes must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30 (on a 4.0 scale) in both undergrad and graduate work, must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing and must have completed at least one academic year at their current institution. Student-athletes must also be a significant contributor to their teams.