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  • Russell Senior Wins Midway University/KHSAA Female Student-Athlete of the Year Award

June 13, 2017

Softball star juggles athletics, academics and community service

(Midway, Ky.) – Following the completion of the high school softball season, Midway University and the KHSAA presented the Female Student-Athlete of the Year Award to Sara Natalie Heineman, a senior at Russell High School. A 2017 nominee for Miss Softball in Kentucky, she finished her career with a .425 batting average and 35 career home runs – the most in her school’s history.

A five-year varsity player at Russell, Heineman helped lead her team to four district championships and earned all-area and all-district honors and was an honorable mention as an all-state player.

Russell head coach David Wheeler describes Heineman as a versatile player, saying, “Sara has started at each of the nine positions because she could more than adequately fill-in the gaps for the team when needed.”

Away from the field, she is a 4.0 student and graduated as co-valedictorian of her class. She has won awards for her performance in physics, French and chemistry and is currently enrolled in a dual credit program at Morehead State University.

Heineman also finds time to give back to her community as a volunteer with Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, First Baptist Church and Two Hearts Pregnancy Center. In addition, she has coordinated fundraisers and outreach events through the school clubs in which she participates.

“Sarah’s stats are evidence that she’s a gifted softball player” said Tripp Swisher, head softball coach at Midway. “Even more amazing, she’s excelled in her sport without losing sight of the importance of academics and community involvement. It’s truly an honor to present this award to such a deserving student-athlete.”

About the Midway University/KHSAA Female Student Athlete of the Year Awards

Nomination Process:

School administrators and/or coaches can nominate any qualified female high school student-athlete. Players can be nominated and win in more than one sport and are eligible to be nominated and win in multiple years of competition.

Judging Criteria

A panel of judges selected by Midway University and the KHSAA will review all nominations and make the selection of each individual sport Female Student-Athlete of the Year. The nominations will be judged on 60 percent weighting of overall athletic achievement, 20 percent academic achievement and 20 percent community service/leadership. In the event of a tie, the judges will have the discretion to select the final winner. Individual winners in each sport will be eligible for the overall Athlete of the Year Award, which will presented in May 2018.

Nominees must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher to qualify and be academically eligible to play in the season in which they are/were nominated.