July 12, 2018 Article from GOBLUERAIDERS.COM
Birdsong and Harris Named Nominees for NCAA Woman of the Year
The prestigious award is granted on four pillars of student-athlete excellence – academics, athletics, service and leadership. The NCAA Woman of the Year award garnered 581 nominees, including 251 Division I athletes.
Harris and Birdsong were two four-year Blue Raider starters that as captains in their senior season led MT to its first C-USA Conference Championship this past year. The pair also led the program to just its second NCAA Regional appearance.
A Cookeville, Tennessee, native, Harris has racked up numerous awards over her four-year career. She was named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team and All-C-USA First Team in 2015. She followed that up with also being named to the First Team All-C-USA list in her junior and senior season. This past year, she was also named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Mideast Region Third Team.
Harris finished her Blue Raider career as the all-time leader in RBI with 111. She also goes down as the number five all-time leader in career putouts (824).
Harris' impressive career at MT includes recognition for her high performance in the classroom as well. The four-year standout has been named a C-USA Academic Medal Winner every year of her career while being voted to the C-USA All-Academic Team this past season. The catcher is also a three year NFCA All-Academic Scholar.
Harris also takes time to give back to the community of Murfreesboro as well as the MT Athletic Department. Some of the organizations she enjoys working with include Special Olympics, Play-4-Tay, the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford County, the Tennessee Fury Softball organization and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Athletic Association.
In April 2018, Harris was awarded the Female True Blue President's Award at the Raiders Choice Awards, which is the top honor given to a female Blue Raider every season. With her collegiate softball career now complete, she continues working towards her Masters in Sport Management, set to be completed in May 2019.
Birdsong, a Chattanooga, Tennessee native has also earned numerous awards during her illustrious four-year career as a Blue Raider. She was a member of the 2015 C-USA All-Freshman team. She was a 2017 All-C-USA First Team honoree and a 2018 All-C-USA Second Team member. As MT won the conference championship this past season, she was also one of five Blue Raiders named to the C-USA All-Tournament team. Birdsong also was a First Team NFCA All-Mideast Region selection in 2017.
Birdsong ended her career by grabbing six individual career records. She was the all-time leader in runs scored (158), hits (243), singles (207), triples (14), stolen bases attempted (155), and stolen bases (132). She also holds single season records in batting average (.443, 2017) and runs scored (50, 2018).
Birdsong's impressive career garnered national attention as she became the first Blue Raider in program history to go on to play professionally. She was drafted this past spring by Moh-BEEL! USA to play in the American Softball Association this summer.
Birdsong's career at MT includes recognition for her high performance in the classroom as well. The four-year starter has been named a C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll every year of her career while being voted to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team in 2016.
Her community service record is every bit as exemplary as her academic and athletic
record as the community-oriented student-athlete spends large amounts of her free
time giving back in Murfreesboro as well as her hometown of Chattanooga. Some of the
organizations she enjoys working with include the Boys and Girls Club of Rutherford
County, the Tennessee Fury Softball organization and the Middle Tennessee Athletic
Department, the Special Olympics, The Baylor School, Chattanooga Community Kitchen,
Connect Sports, Play-4-Tay and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
With her collegiate softball career now complete, she continues working towards her Masters in Sport Management, set to be completed in the summer of 2019.
Harris and Birdsong are two of 80 nominees nationally who played softball, the fifth-highest most represented sport.
The Woman of the Year program was founded in 1991 and saw the highest number of nominees in its history this year, its 28th of existence.