Soaring High: McNicoll Leads Softball All-Conference Team
Maia McNicoll started all 48 games during the regular season for NNU with a .299 batting average, 44 hits and 28 runs scored.
Maia McNicoll started all 48 games during the regular season for NNU with a .299 batting average, 44 hits and 28 runs scored.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – She helped lead Northwest Nazarene to its third consecutive regular-season championship and now senior outfielder Maia McNicoll leads the way as the conference Player of the Year to lead selections to the 2023 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Softball All-Conference Team.

One of four Nighthawks’ players named to the all-conference first team, McNicoll was the senior team leader that led NNU to a 33-15 overall record and an impressive 21-3 conference mark. Starting all 48 games during the regular season, McNicoll batted .299 with 44 hits and 28 runs scored. She shares the GNAC lead with 41 RBIs, ranks second with 86 total bases, fourth with a .585 slugging percentage and is tied for fourth with 12 doubles. The first-team selection is the third straight for McNicoll.

McNicoll is joined on the special awards slate by head coach Rich Wagner, who was the unanimous selection for Coach of the Year. It is Wagner’s third straight Coach of the Year award and the fourth of his career. In winning the regular-season crown, Wagner leads an NNU squad that leads the conference and ranks 24th in Division II with a 2.07 ERA. In conference play, Wagner’s team outscored opponents 140-46 and limited opposing batters to a .227 batting average.

Western Washington picked up the other three special awards. Senior Mareena Ramirez was named both the Pitcher of the Year and the Newcomer of the Year after a banner year in the circle. Tied for first in the GNAC with 16 wins in 27 appearances, Ramirez leads the conference and ranks 36th in Division II with 162 strikeouts. In 157.1 innings, Ramirez has allowed 56 runs, 42 earned, on 108 hits and has limited opponents to a GNAC-low .190 batting average.

Vikings shortstop Hailey Rath was named the Freshman of the Year after she led WWU during the regular season with a .345 batting average, ranking sixth among GNAC batters. Rath is second in the conference with 15 doubles, third with 85 total bases and fifth with 51 hits and 31 RBIs. She also has two triples and five home runs on the season with a .574 slugging percentage and .414 on-base percentage.

McNicoll was joined on the first team from NNU by junior pitcher Sidney Booth, freshman second baseman Jami Obringer and senior utility player Tori Hensley.

Booth earned her third straight first-team selection with another solid season in the circle. Tied with Ramirez for first in the conference at 16 wins, Booth ranks third with a 1.98 ERA, 143 strikeouts and a .228 opponent batting average, having allowed 56 runs, 44 earned, in 155.2 innings. She also continued to be a threat at the plate, entering the GNAC Championships with a .271 batting average, 39 hits and 24 runs.

Obringer batted .313 in her freshman season, starting 36 games for the Nighthawks on the infield. She registered 26 hits, scored 25 runs and stole a team-high 19 bases in 20 attempts.

Hensley, named to the first team as a utility player, is one of the top two-way threats in the conference. She ranks second with a 1.94 ERA and a 14-5 record and has allowed 47 runs. 37 earned, in 133.2 innings with 92 strikeouts. At the plate, Hensley ranks third in the conference with a .373 batting average and fourth with 57 hits.

Senior first baseman Brooke Fesenbek and senior designated player Kinzey Williams joined Ramirez and Rath on the first team from Western Washington. Fesenbek has started all but four games for the Vikings this season, batting .318 with 41 hits, 11 runs, seven doubles, two triples and 26 RBIs.

Williams is ninth in the GNAC with a .331 batting average in 45 games with 49 hits, 22 runs and nine RBIs. She has started all 45 games for WWU this season, including 40 as the team’s leadoff hitter.

Simon Fraser landed two first-teamers in junior outfielder Megan Duclos and sophomore outfielder Abby McGlynn. Duclos finished second in the GNAC with a .409 batting average and led the league with 65 hits and 46 runs scored. She set the conference’s single-season stolen base record, stealing 43 in 47 attempts. McGlynn finished fourth in the GNAC with a .372 batting average. She tied for the conference lead with 41 RBIs, ranked first with 17 doubles and is second with 61 hits and 39 runs scored.

Central Washington senior catcher Alyssa Benthagen earned her second straight first-team selection. Benthagen finished fifth in the conference with a .351 batting average to go with 46 hits, 19 runs, seven home runs and 36 RBI. She shares the GNAC lead with 31 walks drawn. Montana State Billings junior third baseman Marin Penney earned first-team honors after finishing with a .276 batting average and leading the conference with 12 home runs.

Saint Martin’s freshman outfielder Haley Agena rounds out the first-team selections. The conference’s leading batter with a .434 average, Agena leads the GNAC with five triples, is third with 50 hits and is tied for fourth with 33 runs scored.

Northwest Nazarene and Western Washington led the way with seven all-conference selections while Saint Martin’s finished with six.

Player of the Year: Maia McNicoll, Northwest Nazarene
Coach of the Year: Rich Wagner, Northwest Nazarene
Pitcher of the Year: Mareena Ramirez, Western Washington
Freshman of the Year: Hailey Rath, Western Washington
Newcomer of the Year:
Mareena Ramirez, Western Washington

FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Mareena Ramirez Western Washington P 5-4 Sr. Maple Valley, Wash. (Idaho State Univ.)
*+^ Sidney Booth Northwest Nazarene P 5-4 Jr. Puyallup, Wash. (Puyallup)
* +Alyssa Benthagen Central Washington C 5-6 Sr. Spokane Valley, Wash. (University)
Brooke Fesenbek Western Washington 1B 5-7 Sr. Olympia, Wash. (Olympia)
Jami Obringer Northwest Nazarene 2B 5-7 Fr. Newbury Park, Calif. (Newbury Park)
* Hailey Rath Western Washington SS 5-8 Fr. Eatonville, Wash. (Eatonville)
*$@ Marin Penney Montana State Billings 3B 5-6 Jr. Lake Oswego, Ore. (Lake Oswego)
*#$ Tori Hensley Northwest Nazarene UT 5-9 Sr. Kirkland, Wash. (Boise State Univ.)
*+^ Maia McNicoll Northwest Nazarene OF 5-5 Sr. Kaneohe, Hawaii (Maryknoll)
* Megan Duclos Simon Fraser OF 5-7 Jr. Saint-Eustache, Que. (Ecole St. Gabriel)
* Haley Agena Saint Martin’s OF 5-1 Fr. Mililani, Hawaii (Kamehameha-Kapalama)
Abby McGlynn Simon Fraser OF 5-8 So. Langley, B.C. (Walnut Grove)
Kinzey Williams Western Washington DP 5-7 Sr. Kelso, Wash. (Lower Columbia CC)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
#% Maddie Mayer Western Oregon P 5-8 Sr. Portland, Ore. (Rex Putnam)
@ Tia Ridings Saint Martin’s P 5-4 Jr. Tualatin, Ore. (Tualatin)
Kekai Schultz Saint Martin’s C 5-3 So. Ridgefield, Wash. (Ridgefield)
Kanilehua Pitoy Western Washington 2B 5-5 So. Honolulu, Hawaii (Roosevelt)
Clarissa Moreno Northwest Nazarene SS 5-6 So. Selma, Calif. (Boise State Univ.)
@^ Britney Patrick Saint Martin’s 3B 5-8 Jr. Raymond, Wash. (Willapa Valley)
Madison Felter Northwest Nazarene OF 5-8 Jr. Reno, Nev. (Damonte Ranch)
Teagan Seeton Montana State Billings OF 5-10 Fr. Mesa, Ariz. (Westwood)
Maddie Doig Western Oregon OF 5-5 So. Dallas, Ore. (Dallas)
Katelyn McGough Western Oregon OF 5-6 Jr. Raymond, Wash. (Lower Columbia CC)
Olivia Matlock Saint Martin’s DP 5-9 Fr. Menlo, Wash. (Willapa Valley)
@ Alyssa Etheridge Montana State Billings P 5-9 Sr. Grants Pass, Ore. (Grants Pass)
#$ Abigail Gagnon Northwest Nazarene 3B 5-7 Jr. Meridian, Idaho (Meridian)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
@ Miyah Seaton Central Washington 3B 5-6 Sr. Tumwater, Wash. (Tumwater)
Lauren Blaschak Montana State Billings SS 5-6 So. Billings, Mont. (Billings West)
Destiny Conerly Saint Martin’s SS 5-9 Jr. Spanaway, Wash. (Puyallup)
Shelby Lawson Saint Martin’s UT 5-7 Fr. Des Moines, Wash. (Kennedy Catholic)
+ Chloe Leverington Saint Martin’s P 6-0 So. Forks, Wash. (Forks)
Janique Balcaen Simon Fraser OF 5-4 So. Winnipeg, Man. (St. Mary’s Academy)
Amy Hughes Simon Fraser SS 5-4 Fr. Brampton, Ont. (St. Augustine)
Chelsea Smith Western Oregon P 5-7 Sr. Tacoma, Wash. (Hesston Coll.)
@ Natalie Willoughby Western Oregon C 6-0 Jr. Junction City, Ore. (Willamette)
Isabel Cargill Western Washington OF 5-4 Jr. Tracy, Calif. (Idaho State Univ.)
Amaya Davis Western Washington 3B 5-3 So. Kennewick, Wash. (Kennewick)
* - Unanimous Selection     
+ - First Team Selection in 2022
# - Second Team In 2022
@ - Honorable Mention In 2022  
^ - First Team Selection in 2021
$ - Honorable Mention In 2021    
% - Honorable Mention In 2019