Joiner Named one of 30 Candidates for Senior CLASS Award
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior catcher Griffin Joiner has been named a candidate for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award, as announced by the award committee recently. Joiner joins 29 other NCAA Division I softball players selected for their excellence on and off the field, namely in four areas - community, classroom, character and competition.
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.
Joiner, a captain for the Wildcats this year, has proved her worth to her team and her community. As one of just two seniors on the team this season, Joiner has embraced a leadership role on the squad and is without question the backbone of the squad.
"There are few student-athletes that I have coached in my career that better exemplify what this award stands for than Griffin Joiner," UK head coach Rachel Lawson said. "She's one of the best players we have ever had in our program and is an even better human being and leader. Our team looks to her for a lot of guidance and she carries that weight without hesitation. She is a very special player and person."
Joiner has been very active in the Lexington community since arriving on campus, recording countless community service hours. Most recently, Griffin helped mentor students at Dixie Elementary School, spending time during the fall semester reading and helping students with work. The last two years, she has spent several hours before UK football games walking around tailgates collecting money for the United Way and helped organize teammates to help as well. She regularly volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House on campus, rings the bell for Salvation Army and has been active in UK Athletics Backpack Program, which supplies food for children during the weekend from less fortunate homes. Each of the last two holiday seasons, Griffin has helped collect blankets for the UK Children's Hospital and delivered those blankets. Other community service projects include helping at Miracle League, packing meals at Southland Christian Church for "Hope for Haiti" service project and volunteering at Big Blue U, introducing incoming freshman to campus life at UK.
Joiner is an amazing student-athlete that holds a 3.865 cumulative GPA entering the final semester of her college career. A three-year member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, Joiner has been on the Athletics Director's Dean List multiple years and can be seen leading study sessions during long road trips with the entire team. Last season, Joiner was a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree and is a two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar Athlete. Her strong leadership academically helped Kentucky have a 3.56 GPA as a team last spring, which was the best mark in the SEC and second-best nationally among BCS schools.
A member of the school's Frank. G. Ham Society of Character, which honors Wildcats who have shown an extraordinary commitment to academic excellence, athletic participation, personal development, career preparation and serving as a role model, Joiner was voted captain of the team each of the last two seasons. Joiner has been described by her coaches as the perfect teammate and can always be seen going the extra mile. Born and raised in Kentucky, Joiner takes a lot of pride in wearing Kentucky across her chest.
Joiner, who has started every game of her collegiate career, including 211 games at catcher, ranks top 10 all-time in several single-season record at UK, including batting average, doubles, walks, home runs, slugging percentage, putouts and fielding percentage. Her name is also inked all over UK's single-season records list. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., has a .307 career batting average with 37 doubles, two triples, 29 homers and 126 RBI. This season, Joiner is hitting .333 with four doubles, one triple and five home runs and 26 RBI. Last season, Joiner was named national player of the week, becoming only the fourth player in school history to claim a national player of the week honor. She has earned several postseason honors and is only the third player in school history with four or more All-SEC honors. Joiner was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2012, Second-Team All-SEC and All-SEC Defensive Team in 2013 and All-SEC Defensive Team in 2014.
The candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2015 NCAA Women's College World Series® in Oklahoma City May 30 through June 5. A full list of nominees is below.
2015 Senior CLASS Nominees
Callie Alford, Georgia State
Jackie Bates, Rutgers
Emily Bausher, Lehigh
Farish Beard, South Alabama
Sara Borders, Jacksonville State
Erin Burner, St. John's
Ally Carda, UCLA
Cheyenne Cordes, California
Allison Cukrov, Stony Brook University
Michele Daubman, Fordham
Sara Driesenga, Michigan
Larissa Franklin, Western Kentucky
Amber Freeman, Arizona State
Lindsay Friedman, Saint Louis University
Chandler Howard, Rutgers
Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
Stephany LaRosa, UCLA
Sammy Marshall, Western Illinois
Kathlyn Medina, Florida
Krista Menke, North Dakota State
Hayley Miles, San Diego State
Kahley Novak, Central Florida
Sarah Onorato, Yale
Shelby Pendley, Oklahoma
Kaitlyn Richardson, Minnesota
Cydnee Sanders, Bucknell
Farrah Sullivan, Central Florida
Kaitlyn Thumann, Baylor
Lacey Waldrop, Florida State
Emily Weiman, NC State