LaKaylin Lee CIAA Female Scholar Athlete of Year

Claflin University senior softball standout LaKaylin Lee was named the CIAA Female Scholar Athlete of the Year at the league’s End-of-Year Awards Reception in Baltimore on Tuesday. She was also named the 2019 Claflin University Athletics Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Lee, 5-2, from, Decatur, Ga., graduated summa cum laude with a degree in business management, finishing her matriculation at Claflin with a 3.972 grade-point average.

Lee was named to the 2019 All-CIAA First Team. She is a 2019 Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association Softball All-Atlantic Region Second Team selection and a Google Cloud Academic All-District Softball Team selection.

Lee was second in the CIAA with 55 runs scored, tied for second with five triples, and fourth with 55 hits while helping lead the Panthers to an 18-0 conference record in the regular season and a runner-up finish in the 2019 CIAA Softball Championship. She finished the season ranked 11th in sacrifice flies and 32nd in runs per game in the nation. For her career she had a .385 batting average, .608 slugging percentage along with 100 of 107 stolen bases. In the 2019 campaign, she finished with four home runs, 32 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 31 attempts.

Lee has received several academic accolades while at Claflin and volunteers at CASA Family Systems and with the American Business Women’s Association while also mentoring youth and tutoring fellow student-athletes.

Lee, Cato get Google Cloud academic honor

Claflin University senior softball players Kayla Cato and LaKaylin Lee were named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Softball Team (District 2). The 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-District Softball Team was announced May 9 via the CoSIDA Website.

The 2019 Google Cloud Academic All-District Softball Team, selected by CoSIDA, recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom. The Google Cloud Academic All-America program separately recognizes softball honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA.

Both Cato and Lee advance to the Google Cloud Academic All-America ballot. First-, second- and third-team (when selected) Academic All-America honorees will be announced in June.

Lee, a 5-2, outfielder, from, Decatur, Ga., was named to the 2019 All-CIAA First Team.

Cato, a 5-10, infielder, from Decatur, Ga., finished her career with a batting average of .344 and a slugging percentage of .692. She accumulated 216 runs, 230 hits, including 51 homeruns, and 197 RBIs. and 209 stolen bases in 212 attempts. Cato is a 2019 ASBA Draft Prospect and 2019 cum laude graduate with a degree in mass communications. She was named the 2019 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year.

39 student-athletes earn degrees

As Claflin University celebrated its 150th Commencement Convocation last Saturday, 39 student-athletes were among the 2019 graduating class receiving bachelor's and master's degrees in various disciplines.

Commencement weekend began with the 2019 Baccalaureate Service on May 10, where the speaker was the Rev. Ellis White Jr.

Saturday morning's commencement convocation was the final dose of reality, as it was the last time each of them would gather together as student-athletes. Facing the fact that the season-long road trips, study hall, meals in the cafe, classes in JTK or just hanging around the student center will now and forevermore be etched in their memory banks as those precious times they spent on the campus of Claflin University.

Guest speaker for Saturday's commencement was Claflin University President, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. In his last commencement as president, Tisdale encouraged the 2019 graduating class to use the tools they were given.

“I want you to go forth and become the visionary leaders this fine institution has prepared you to become,” Tisdale said Saturday.

“You are well aware that Claflin University is about educating men and women with global perspectives,” he said. “You’ve been educated to become visionary leaders who are expected to effect change for the better in a wide variety of professions and causes around the world.”

In addition to the 39 student-athletes, former baseball player and athletics graduate assistant Emmanuel Wright received his MBA during the commencement convocation.

Claflin athletes qualify for NCAA track championships

Claflin University men’s track athletes Davion McKnight-Allen, Derick St. Jean and Domenic Samuel along with the men’s 4x400 meter relay team have qualified for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The championships will be held May 23-25 at the Javelina Stadium in Kingsville, Texas. Texas A&M University-Kingsville will serve as the host for the championships.

The final qualifiers were released on Tuesday.

McKnight-Allen and St. Jean will each run in three events while Samuel will compete in two at the championships.

McKnight-Allen (5-9, 157, Jr., Florence/South Florence HS) will compete in the 100 and 200 meters as well as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team. He has the ninth fastest time in the nation in the 200 meters (20.82) and the 13th in the 100 meters at 10.36.

St. Jean (6-1, 180, Fr., Roseau, Dominica) will compete individually in the 200 and 400 meters and he is also a member of the 4x400 meter relay team. His time in the 400 meters is the eighth fastest (46.77) and he brings the 19th fastest time (20.97) into the meet in the 200 meters.

Samuel (5-10, 156, So., Dillon, SC) will round out the individual competitors, competing in the 400 meters, entering the championships with a time of 47.73. He is also a member of the 4x400 meter relay team.

Rounding out the 4x400 meter relay team that automatically qualified for the championships with a time of 3:08.76, is Ashtin Knowles (5-11, 160, Miami, FL/Miramar HS).

Portions of the championships will be streamed live on NCAA.com. To access the live stream, go to www.NCAA.com starting Thursday, May 23. Links will be available at start time.

Live results will be available at https://results.leonetiming.com/?mid=1690 once competition starts.

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