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JMU roundup: Okafor wins Ashe scholar award


Daily Staff Reports - sports@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- James Madison University women's basketball rising redshirt senior center Lauren Okafor has been named the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Female Sports Scholar of the Year by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

The award is issued for exemplifying high achievement in scholarship, athleticism and community service. It is inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe, Jr.'s commitment to education as well as his love for the game of tennis.

Okafor is a pre-medicine and psychology major at Madison who plans on a career as a clinical psychiatrist. Last season, she played in all 35 games for the Dukes, averaging 5.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. The Hamden, Connecticut native added 38 blocks, 10 steals and five assists while averaging 11.9 minutes per game.

Previous winners of the aware include former University of Tennessee women's basketball star Kara Lawson as well as NFL quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.

Softball

HARRISONBURG -- A trio of members of the 2014 James Madison team are scheduled to play in exhibition matches against Team USA in Virginia over the next week.

Rising junior pitcher Jailyn Ford and rising sophomore outfielder Niki Prince will play on a team together coached by Liberty's Dot Richardson in an exhibition game in Lynchburg on June 13. This is Ford's second experience with USA Softball as she played on the Junior National Team last summer that played in the ISF Junior World Championships.

Ford will also get a chance to go against her teammate on the Junior National Team as Oregon's Cheridan Hawkins is a member of Team USA.

Shortstop Caitlin Sandy, who graduated in 2014, will play on a team coached by the JMU coaching staff, including head coach Mickey Dean, in an exhibition in Purcellville on June 19.

Tickets can be purchased through teamusa.org. The exhibition games were arranged to help prepare Team USA to play in a trio of international tournaments over the summer, including the World Cup IX, the Canadian Open FP International and the ISF Women's World Championship.

Baseball

HARRISONBURG -- James Madison senior third baseman Ty McFarland was selected First Team All-Region as the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) announced its Rawlings/All-East squad on Thursday.

Most recently, McFarland became the 75th player in JMU history to be selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft. He was a 10th-round selection by the New York Yankees as the No. 302 overall pick. He is the first JMU student-athlete ever to be drafted by the Yankees.

As a senior, McFarland collected first team All-CAA recognition after batting .317 and starting all 53 games with 72 hits, 47 runs, 12 doubles, nine home runs, 37 RBIs and 21 walks. He led the Dukes in batting average, slugging percentage (.507), runs, hits, home runs, total bases (115), at bats (227) and starts. He also led JMU with 21 multiple-hit games and was third with nine games of two or more RBIs.

A four-year starter in the field, McFarland finished fifth in program history with 766 at bats while his season total fell just two shy of the top 10. He ranked third in the CAA this year in total bases, fourth in hits, fourth in home runs, fifth in runs scored and eighth in RBIs. His nine home runs, 0.17 home runs per game, 115 total bases and 0.89 runs per game each sat within the top 100 in the nation.

For his career, McFarland hit .315 in 196 games with 180 runs scored, 46 doubles, five triples, 15 home runs, 131 RBIs, 342 total bases and 105 walks. He fell two shy of the top 10 for runs scored. In addition to being first team All-CAA as a senior, he was previously third team All-CAA as a freshman and sophomore. He was also a Freshman All-American as a freshman.



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