Three Redbirds Land Spots on MVC Scholar-Athlete Teams


ST. LOUIS- Illinois State Senior Softball Emma Olson was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s First Scholars Athlete Team as a junior Dayna Kennedy and second Reili Gardner earned spots on the honorable mention team.

Olson is now a three-time MVC Scholar Athlete, earning first-team honors in 2020 and honorable mention a season ago. She currently holds a GPA of 3.88 for the school year in her Masters in Professional Accounting. Olson received All-MVC Second Team honors as well as CoSIDA Academic All-District honors this season, and was also nominated for the Senior CLASS award. She finished with a .324 average in conference, leading the team in doubles with nine and walking with 15. In conference, Olson was ranked in the top 10 in on-base percentage (.448), in doubles (9) and in walk. (15).

Kennedy earns her first MVC Athlete Scholar honor after being selected to the All-Tournament Team and named All-MVC First Team this season. Kennedy, a health information and management major, had a 3.67 GPA in class in 2021-22. She finished with 12 homers during the season, including nine during the conference season. Her .373 batting average, .843 slugging percentage, 1.272 OPS, and 9 conference home runs ranked her in the top 10 in the conference in all previously mentioned categories.

Gardner also earns an MVC-Scholar Athlete Honorable Mention for the first time in his career. The second from Dyersville, Iowa, earned a cumulative 4.00 GPA this season in biochemistry. Her on-field chemistry also seemed to excel because Gardner went from a .233 batting average in 2021 to .301 in 2022. She earned Valley Player of the Week honors on March 8.and for his performance at the Florida Atlantic tournament. She’s appeared in 51 of the Redbirds’ 52 games this season, with 43 hits and 24 runs scored — two improvements from the previous season.

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