LOUISVILLE, Ky. – (Hawaii Athletics) A record tying seven University of Hawai'i softball players have been honored as 2012 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athletes, the organization announced on Thursday. Alexandra Aguirre (Temple City, Calif./Temple City HS), Jori Jasper (Lihu'e, Kaua'i/Kaua'i HS), Sharla Kliebenstein (Ocenside Calif./El Camino HS), Kelly Majam (Pine Valley, Calif./Mountain Empire HS), Dara Pagaduan (Kapole'i, O'ahu/Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama), Lauren Parnaby (Bilgola Plateau, NSW, Australia/Northern Beaches Secondary College) and Keiko Sugihara (Skokie, Ill./Niles North HS) all earned the accolade which is given to players who achieved a 3.50 grade point average or higher during the 2011-12 academic year. Only 24 different Rainbow Wahine softball players have ever been selected for the national honor.
Aguirre and Majam joined former Rainbow Wahine standouts Tracie Uchima, Julie Franklin, and Clare Warwick to become the only UH players to earn the award for four years. Aguirre, a three-year starter in leftfield, graduated in the summer of 2011 with a bachelor's degree in English and in the spring of 2012, she earned two certificates in secondary education and "peace and conflict education. Majam earned her first NFCA Scholar-Athlete award during her medical redshirt freshman year. She enters her senior season already as the UH career record holder in home runs and walks. Majam has started the last 174 straight games in centerfield. Majam was also voted to the Capitol One CoSIDA Academic All-District VII team and she earned NFCA all-district honors as a junior.
Pagaduan and Jasper have been named an NFCA Scholar-Athletes for three seasons each. Like Aguirre and Majam, Pagaduan started all 53 games this past season at second base. She also graduated in four years last spring with two bachelor's degrees in Hawaiian language and psychology. Pagaduan also was named Phi Beta Kappa and was UH's Relay for Life chairperson as a senior last year. Jasper is a junior first baseman, and like Majam she also earned her first NFCA award for her redshirt freshman season. Jasper will be graduating in this winter with three business administration bachelor degrees in marketing, entrepreneurship and international business. She also serves as UH's Student Athlete Advisory Committee representative to the Big West.
This was the first NFCA scholar-athlete award for Kliebenstein, Parnaby and Sugihara. Kliebenstein, a junior majoring in sociology, started all of the games in 2011 at catcher and last year shifted to rightfield where she played in 38 games. She missed 15 games because of an injury during the middle of the 2012 season. Parnaby is a theater major who saw limited action in six games as a pinch runner while Sugihara is majoring in communications and was a redshirt last season.
Aguirre, Majam and Pagaduan also earned Western Athletic Conference all-academic honors in which athletes have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's contests. UH has recorded seven awardees now three different times, 2009, 2011, and 2012.
The 2012 Rainbow Wahine posted a 44-9 overall record and a 17-3 record in conference en route to its fourth WAC title and advancing to its 10th NCAA tournament last season. The team started the season with a school-record 21-game win streak and notched signature wins over No. 1 California, No. 22 Florida State, DePaul, BYU and Fresno State.
Hawai'i opens the 2013 season with the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic, Feb. 7-9. Ole Miss, St. Mary's, UAB, and Washington will all be making their way to Honolulu to open the year at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.