NEW ORLEANS – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball outfielder Ciara Bryan, the Sun Belt Conference Softball Player and Newcomer of the Year in spring 2021, has been voted the conference’s 2020-21 Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
The Sun Belt Student-Athlete of the Year award, which annually recognizes one female and one male student-athlete, is the conference’s highest individual honor given and is based on athletic performance, academic success, outstanding leadership, and character.
Bryan – who was the first-ever SBC softball student-athlete to be crowned the league’s top player and newcomer in the same season – becomes the first Ragin’ Cajuns student-athlete, male or female, to receive the award since the 2016-17 athletics season (Aleah Craighton) and the fourth female student-athlete overall.
She was honored alongside Georgia Southern Baseball outfielder Mason McWhorter.
“The Sun Belt Conference is delighted to recognize Ciara and Mason for their amazing academic and athletic achievements. They epitomize what it means to excel,” said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill. “It’s such a pleasure to shine a spotlight on these two individuals as our Athletes of the Year.”
Bryan, a transfer from Georgia who completed her collegiate career with Louisiana, helped lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to repeat honors as Sun Belt regular season and tournament champions and a 13th consecutive appearance on Championship Sunday of an NCAA Regional.
Also named a First Team NFCA All-Central Region, Softball America Second Team All-American and the LSWA Player and Newcomer of the Year, Bryan recorded at least one base hit in all but six of the 59 games Louisiana played – without ever experiencing back-to-back hitless games. The result was the first 80-hit campaign of her collegiate career which was accomplished while maintaining a .420 average or above throughout its entirety.
The Covington, Ga., native totaled 87 base hits which marked the third-most in the nation during the 2021 season. She also led Ragin' Cajuns in extra base hits (21), posted 39 RBI, swiped a team-leading 37 stolen bases and scored a team-leading 63 runs.
“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments Ciara has earned and this is certainly a great accomplishment for her and our team,” Louisiana Softball head coach Gerry Glasco said. “Her contributions to our season were enormous and with her rare talents on the softball field she rose to the top of the Sun Belt. She was equally successful in the classroom and now prepares to pursue her master’s degree here at Louisiana.”
Bryan is the second Ragin’ Cajuns student-athlete to earn prestigious distinction from the Sun Belt Conference, joining track and field’s Claire Meyers who was nominated by the conference for the 2021 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
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