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JWU's Rufo, Suffolk's Holmes Selected as Google Cloud Softball Academic All-America


Courtesy of JWU, SUFFOLK Athletics Communications

Johnson & Wales University softball senior Katie Rufo has been named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Division III First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), while Suffolk University senior right-handed pitcher Taylor Holmes was a Third Team choice.

A native of Natick, Mass., Rufo is the third JWU student-athlete to collect Academic All-America honors this year and the second for the softball program in as many years. Recently, she graduated with a 4.0 grade point average in sports, entertainment and event management.

The CoSIDA award is one of many Rufo has collected this spring. She was a First-Team-All-GNAC selection for the second year in a row and picked up her second NFCA All-Region award. 

Rufo was one of the top hitters in the GNAC this season, ranking second with 42 RBIs while her seven home runs were fourth to go along with a .381 batting average. She ranked in the conference top 10 for seventh offensive categories.

Even though she only played at JWU for two years after transferring from Elon, Rufo cracked the all-time top 10 in four categories, including seventh with 12 home runs. Her 12 doubles and seven home runs this year rates sixth on the single-season charts.

As if classes and softball weren't enough, Rufo served as the secretary for the JWU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and spearhead the softball team's community service efforts. At the end of the year banquet, she received the Thomas Carmody Award for Character, Spirit, and Community Service which is presented to the outstanding male or female senior athlete who exemplifies outstanding academic success; significant athletic contribution; commitment to community service; and loyalty, effort, and enthusiasm.

Holmes, who hails from Ashford, Conn., is the first-ever Academic All-American in the Suffolk program's 34-year history. She recently completed her undergraduate studies as a double major in accounting and big data and business analytics with an impressive 3.95 GPA. The Ashford, Connecticut native claimed a spot on the NFCA All-Northeast Region Third Team and All-GNAC First Team after leading the Rams inside the circle with a 1.91 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 66.0 innings of action in 13 appearances and 12 starts.   

The RHP went unbeaten in the regular season, helping Suffolk to its third GNAC regular season crown in the last four seasons and aided in a conference championship run in the league's postseason tournament. 

Holmes is the first-ever Suffolk softball player to earn Academic All-America status after becoming the second-ever student-athlete to earn all-district laurels in the program history behind Angela Belanger, who achieved the feat in 2006. 

Additionally, Holmes is the first-ever female student-athlete in Suffolk history to claim Academic All-America honors from CoSIDA. Men's basketball's Brian Small is the Rams' only male student-athlete to garner the nod, earning such laurels in 2006-07, and was the lone blue-and-gold competitor to hold such status until Holmes. 

Of the 33 members of the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Division III Softball Team, 25 have at least a 3.90 GPA with 11 student-athletes maintaining a 4.00 GPA (or better) as either undergraduate or graduate students. Holmes is one of two GNAC student-athletes to earn a spot on the prestigious team with Johnson & Wale's Katie Rufo representing the league on the first team.