Feb. 20, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's Emily Allard (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) is one of 30 candidates for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award, which honors senior student-athletes who excel both on and off the field.
Northwestern softball has a long history of success with this award, earning top-10 finalists in 2007 (Garland Cooper), 2009 (Tammy Williams) and 2010 (Nicole Pauly). In addition, 2012 senior Adrienne Monka was named a candidate for the honor. 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.
In the classroom, Allard is a multiple-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree who will graduate in June with a degree in communication studies. The communications studies major completed an internship in 2011 with Northwestern's athletics marketing department, and is planning on pursuing a career in sports marketing. After much deliberation, Allard declined an invitation to the USA Softball National Team selection camp in the summer of 2012 to instead pursue a summer internship with Wilson in which she played a key role in product research and development. She maintains a professional relationship with multiple former colleagues with potential post-graduate opportunities on the table.
In terms of character
, Allard -- a career prep outfielder -- accepted a move to shortstop during her freshman season, practicing the position and overcoming many bumps in the road while "learning on the job." She now has started 146 games at short entering her senior season, a number made more impressive when considering an injury that required surgery during her career. The testament to her character here is her dedication to rehab and hard work that has allowed her to keep her terrific range on the field, her explosion out of the box and her All-American caliber speed on the base paths.
Allard also is exceptionally close to her family, leading to a poignant moment her sophomore season. Her father, Bill, had not seen her play competitively since high school due to his schedule as an over-the-road truck driver. He re-arranged his schedule to surprise Allard at a game in San Diego that year, and after team-wide tears at their emotional meeting pre-game, Allard went out to break the school single-game record for hits with a 5-for-5 day.
In the community, Allard is one of the more involved student-athletes in the Evanston and Chicagoland communities. She has volunteered her time to visit local schools to conduct Q&A sessions with students of all ages. Every Halloween she participates in the Women's Club of Evanston "Fairy Tale Trail," a trick or treat night for kids with disabilities. Allard spends time introducing local disadvantaged youth to sports participation at NU's Field Day. She volunteers to paint fire hydrants purple with local kids in conjunction with the City of Evanston's "Paint Evanston Purple" initiative. She also helped raise money for NU women's swimming's "Breaststroke 4 Breast Cancer," which raised more than $10K for local cancer research. Throughout her college career, Allard has coached little league and travel ball teams in Northern California and Evanston.
Finally, in competition, Allard was the winner of the 2011 NFCA Golden Shoes Award as the nation's top base-stealer. She was also a Top-25 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year in 2011 and is on the watch list in 2013 for the second-straight year. The three-time All-Big Ten and NFCA All-Region selection broke Northwestern's single-season batting average record with a .491 mark in 2011 while also stealing 45 bases in 46 attempts. Over the last two seasons, Allard had hits in all but 10 of Northwestern's games. That breaks down to hits in 91 of 101 games NU played, including 42 multi-hit performances.
Entering her senior season, Emily is just two stolen bases shy of Northwestern's all-time record of 118. She has had hitting streaks of 22 and 17 games during her career, and enters 2013 with an active 15-game hitting streak. Throughout her career she holds a .410 batting average with 125 runs scored, 221 hits and 116 steals in 126 attempts (.921 success rate). In NCAA Tournament play, Allard is a career .500 hitter, including a .600 average against seeded teams.
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.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I head coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of nominees can be found at seniorclassaward.com.
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