Trio of Cajuns receive CoSIDA Academic All-District recognition

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LAFAYETTE – The senior trio of Haley Hayden, Alex Stewart and Kassidy Zeringue represented 15th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball on the 2016-17 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District™ softball team, the organization announced on Thursday.

The award recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.

The Academic All-District™ team is divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. The Ragin’ Cajuns are members of District 6 which is comprised of universities from the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The Ragin’ Cajuns contingent now advances to the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America® honorees will be selected later this month.

“This honor reminds you of how committed these student-athletes have to be in order to pursue excellence both in softball and academics,” Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball head coach Michael Lotief remarked. “All of our kids are committed to making sure that they acquire a quality education and do the very best they possibly can in that pursuit.

“We want to thank their professors and the University’s support staff,” Lotief added. “For pushing them, encouraging them and continuing to expect the very best out of them.”

Hayden received an Academic All-District™ honor for the third straight season. She’s earned the distinction in each year of her career that she was eligible to be nominated: 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17. The West Monroe, La., native and exercise science major holds a 3.72 grade point average, is graduating in May and has been accepted to Palmer (Fla.) College’s chiropractor school.

Hayden has registered a 3.5-plus GPA in nine of 10 semesters (four with 4.0) in her undergraduate career at UL Lafayette and is a two-time member of the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List (3.5-4-0 GPA). She was a nominee for Outstanding Graduate in the College of Education.

This season she became the Ragin’ Cajuns all-time runs scored leader, scoring the record-breaking 244th career run on April 30. Hayden has produced at least 40 runs, hits and RBI all four years and her career totals have exceeded the 200-mark in each category. She has produced 17 multiple-hit games in 2017, giving her a fourth straight season with at least 15 and upping her career total to 72.

Zeringue earned repeat Academic All-District™ honors. A season ago, she collected her first all-district award and went on to represent the Ragin’ Cajuns on the CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team, becoming the 10th student-athlete in program history to achieve Academic All-American status.

An exercise science major, Zeringue carried a 3.88 cumulative GPA into the spring 2017 semester. The Lutcher, La., product is graduating in May and applying for admission into a physician assistant program.

Zeringue has recorded a semester GPA of 3.7 or higher in 10 of 11 semesters as an undergraduate at UL Lafayette, highlighted by seven semesters with a 4.0 GPA. She is a three-time member of the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List (3.5-4.0 GPA), Outstanding Graduate nominee and recipient of the Academic Excellence certificate from the Honors Convocation.

A slap hitter who transitioned from outfield to infield to play second base, Zeringue has turned in several highlight-reel plays (SportsCenter Top 10 at Texas State) and has committed only eight errors over 152 total chances. She has delivered 10 multiple-hit games hitting from the No. 8 spot and is one of only three Sun Belt players who exited April with a .400-plus batting average (hitting .404 through April).

Stewart is a first-time Academic All-District™ honoree. Entering the spring 2017 semester, she held a 3.71 cumulative GPA majoring in mathematics with a minor in economics. She’s on pace to graduate in Fall 2017 and plans to pursue a master’s in accounting.

The Zionsville, Ind., native earned a 4.0 semester GPA during each of the previous two seasons of competition (Spring 15, Spring 16). Throughout her undergraduate career, she recorded a 3.5-plus GPA in eight of nine semesters (four with 4.0 GPA).

Stewart, the reigning Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, posted a 13-0 record in league play this season in leading Louisiana to the conference championship before final weekend of regular season play. She’s reached 20 wins, overall, for the second straight season (enters May at 20-3) and has held the opposition to two earned runs or less in 18 of 20 starts. Dating back to 2016, she has produced a 49-9 record (29-1 in Sun Belt play).

For more information about the Academic All-District™ and Academic All-America® Teams program, please visit www.cosida.com.

For more information on Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball, as well as all of Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/RaginCajunSoftball),Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsSoftball).

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