June 1, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame softball outfielder Karley Wester (Huntington Beach, California/Edison) closed one of the best seasons in program history by receiving National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I All-America honors for the second time in her career. The Irish junior co-captain was officially named to the 2016 NFCA All-America third team that was released on Wednesday.
Wester's selection was the 27th overall NFCA All-America citation earned by a Notre Dame student-athlete in the 28-year varsity history of the Irish softball program. She previously claimed her third straight NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region first team scroll on May 19 to become eligible for All-America voting.
"I am extremely honored to be named an All-American and am proud of this team, but I will not be satisfied until we clear the obstacle of winning an NCAA Regional and taking Notre Dame softball somewhere it's never been," Wester said. "That being said, I am incredibly appreciative of this notion, but am already looking forward to the upcoming 2017 season."
Notre Dame, which established a program record with at least one All-America performer for the eighth straight season (2009-present), has had six different student-athletes, Wester (2014 second team, 2016 third team), Emilee Koerner (2013 second team, 2014-15 third team), Micaela Arizmendi (2014 second team), Amy Buntin (2012 second team), Heather Johnson (2011 third team) and Dani Miller (2011 third team), earn nine combined All-America scrolls over the past six seasons. Prior to 2011, Notre Dame players had claimed NFCA All-America honors 18 total times during the previous 17 years.
Wester is now one of eight multi-time Irish All-Americans all-time, joining Megan Ciolli (2004 and 2005, third team), Terri Kobata (1994 third team, 1995 second team), Koerner, Andrea Loman (2002 and 2003, third team), Katie Marten (1995 and 1996, third team), Jarrah Myers (2001 and 2002, third team) and Jennifer Sharron (2000 second team, 2001 third team).
"Karley is a true leader on and off the field," Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. "I truly believe she is the best leadoff hitter in the country. I am proud of her accomplishments and I can't wait to see how she continues to progress on and off the field."
One of the Top 10 Finalists for the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, Wester led three Notre Dame players (Ali Wester, second, .423; Melissa Rochford, fourth, .398) among the top four hitters vying for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) batting average crown (.446), and was the league leader in hits (91) and runs scored (68) entering this week's Women's College World Series. Wester's 46 stolen bases also ranked second in the ACC after NCAA Super Regional play, to go along with a career-high nine doubles, three home runs and 33 RBI as primarily a slap hitter.
Among NCAA counterparts, Wester owned the sixth-best runs scored average (1.21), the ninth-best stolen bases per game clip (0.82) and the 16th-highest batting average among all Division I players as of May 29. Wester has the fifth-highest active career batting average (.443) in Division I softball, and has added top 25 totals in stolen bases (98, 13th), runs scored (183, 19th) and hits (256, 21st, most hits among all DI non-seniors) after three collegiate seasons.
Wester's 91 hits, 68 runs and 46 stolen bases all shattered Notre Dame single-season program records, as she staked claim to the first 90-hit, 40-steal campaign by an Irish player. Wester is also the only Notre Dame hitter in the program's 28-year history to score at least 50 runs, record at least 80 hits and steal at least 25 bases in three straight seasons.
Wester batted .397 (27-for-68) with runners in scoring position, and reached base in 51 of 86 (.593) opportunities in 56 starts as a leadoff hitter, while a total of 45 of her 91 base hits were officially credited as infield singles. Wester batted .432 with 32 total hits (five for extra bases) 10 RBI, 11 stolen bases and 18 runs in 20 games against Top 75 RPI opponents in 2016.
An all-ACC performer for the third straight season after being tabbed to the 2016 all-conference second team, Wester led all Notre Dame players with 20 runs and 14 stolen bases in 20 ACC starts. She chipped in the second-most hits (23) to go along with a .416 on-base percentage and a .441 slugging percentage in ACC games.
A member of Notre Dame's cutting-edge Rosenthal Leadership Academy and the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Wester helped spearhead the One Shirt, One Body campaign that has spread to other SAAC chapters on campuses across the country. Varsity teams have donated countless college issued athletic shirts to persons in need within their local communities. Wester will serve as president of the Notre Dame SAAC chapter during the 2016-17 academic year.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.