For the second season in a row, the University of Utah softball team had two Utes named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District eight team. The two student-athletes that were honored with this recognition was junior Katie Donovan and senior Hannah Flippen. Both Donovan and Flippen earned this recognition in the 2016 season as well. This selection marks the fourth honor in the past two years for Utah after it did not receive any selections from 2013-15.
“It was really cool to receive that honor,” Flippen said. “I take a lot of pride in what I do in the classroom. I think that it is just something that I’m wired with to be competitive. I always want to have the best grades and have the best batting average, and all of that kind of stuff because I think it reflects how I do on the field and in the classroom too.”
Donovon said it was great to be honored, and added that earning this shows how important the academic side of things really is as a student-athlete.
“[Making Academic All-American] would be great, but honestly, that’s not why you put in the work,” Donovan said. “It’s not to get the honors, it’s to succeed on and off the field and in the classroom. I wouldn’t say I was aiming for the goal, it just happened when you work hard and apply yourself.”
Last season Flippen had the opportunity to be named not just to the Academic All-District team, but also as an Academic All-American. Flippen became one of three Utah players to join the All-America Team along with Kathleen Thornley (1983) and Ali Andrus-Saga (1997).
Flippen has earned many honors this year for her performance on the field, and while she loves the acknowledgment that she receives with softball, she has not forgotten that it is the recognition that comes from within the classroom that is what is really important.
“I think [my mom] likes the academic accolades more than the actual on-the-field stuff,” Flippen said. “It’s super important. Softball is sometimes temporary so I just think that it’s important to continue to work hard in school because there is more to life than just softball, but it’s awesome to be recognized with all of those other girls, and with Katie.”
Head coach Amy Hogue was not surprised about the recent honors of Flippen and Donovan because she believes, it is “what they do.”
“They are two of our kids that really excel on and off the field, hence the reason why they are our captains and they are receiving these awards every year, and they are exceeding on the field,” Hogue said. “They just kind of do everything in their life well, and they are great examples to all of us.”
The First-team Academic All-District honorees will go onto the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team ballot. Later this month, the first, second and third team All-America honorees will be chosen.
“It is just really cool to be honored in such big ways,” Flippen said. “I’m just trying to make the program better and if being an Academic All-American or Academic All-District is doing that, then I’m doing my job. That is my whole goal here is to just to make the program better and leave [it] better than I found it.”