Joiner Named Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- University of Kentucky senior catcher Griffin Joiner has been named a 2015 Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-American -- one of five players nationally to claim such honors -- it was announced Wednesday.
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. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Joiner, a captain for the Wildcats this year, was selected as one of 30 players to the initial list in March before being honored as a top-10 finalist in early April. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., has proved her worth to the program and community. One of just two seniors on the team this season, Joiner embraced a leadership role on the squad and was without question the backbone of the squad.
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 collected. 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 and recently graduated with honors from UK. 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 245 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. Joiner ended her career with a .303 batting average with 42 doubles, two triples, 35 homers and 143 RBI. This season, Joiner hit .299 with nine doubles, one triple and 11 home runs and 43 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 five or more All-SEC honor. Joiner was named SEC All-Freshman in 2012, Second-Team All-SEC and All-SEC Defensive Team in 2013 and All-SEC Defensive Team in 2014 and 2015. Joiner is the only catcher in SEC history to earn three-straight All-SEC Defensive Team honors.
During UK's 4-0 victory over in-state rival Louisville on April 1, Joiner was selected in the fourth round and 19th overall in the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft by the Akron Racers. Joiner is the third Wildcat player to ever be selected in the NPF Draft, joining All-American and current assistant coach Molly Johnson-Belcher, who was selected second overall in the 2010 draft, and All-Southeastern Conference performer Megan Yocke, who went ninth overall in 2011. Joiner will join UK's all-time home run leader Brittany Cervantes as the only two former Wildcats currently in the league. Cervantes plays for the Chicago Bandits.
2015 Senior CLASS Award First-Team All-Americans:
Lacey Waldrop, Florida State (overall winner)
Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
Shelby Pendley, Oklahoma
Kaitlyn Richardson, Minnesota
Kaitlyn Thumann, Baylor
2015 Senior CLASS Award Second-Team All-Americans:
Callie Alford, Georgia State
Farish Beard, South Alabama
Ally Carda, UCLA
Cheyenne Cordes, Cal
Kathlyn Medina, Florida