ROANOKE, Virginia—The Chico State softball team’s journey to Salem, Virginia to compete for the NCAA Division II national championship certainly ranks as the trip of a lifetime. For two Wildcats, the successful 2018 season has yielded plenty of individual recognition, and now Haley Gilham and Karli Skowrup can add All-America to their growing list of on-field credentials. At Wednesday’s NCAA Championship Finals banquet, Gilham received Second Team All-America accolades from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), while earlier in the day the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association (D2CCA) named Skowrup First Team All-America, with Gilham earning another Second Team All-America honor.
In Chico State softball’s 50-year history, Wednesday’s announcement marks the first time two Wildcats have been named All-America in the same season.
Thanks to a 31-3 record and 1.19 earned run average, Gilham earned her second career All-America award. The winningest pitcher in Chico State softball history won Third Team All-America honors in 2017, and now joins J.R. Roberts (Third Team All-America in 1997 and 1998) as the lone Chico State players to win multiple All-America awards.
The two Wednesday awards are the latest accolades Gilham has acquired for her sensational 2018 campaign—during the regular season, the Norco product received California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Pitcher of the Week honors five times, and in the last three weeks has been named First Team All-CCAA, the conference’s Pitcher of the Year, Most Valuable Player of the CCAA Championship Tournament, and First Team All-West Region honors from both the NFCA and D2CCA.
Skowrup racked up her biggest award yet in 2018. The senior second baseman, on the strength of a .368 batting average and school records in both home runs (14, tied with teammate Bailey Akins) and runs batted in (64), can now put her All-America accolade alongside First Team All-CCAA, D2CCA First Team All-West Region and NFCA Second Team All-West Region honors.
There’s one more award Gilham, Skowrup, and the Wildcats have their sights set on—and it’s the biggest of all. Chico State takes on Saint Leo (Fla.) Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time in the first round of the NCAA Championship Finals, being played at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Virginia. The winner of the five-day, eight-team tournament will be crowned Division II national champion.