Northern Illinois University student-athletes Emily Naegele (softball) and Nelle Youel (women’s tennis) are among the 29 women selected nationally to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for Spring 2016, as the NCAA informed all winners of their selection over the past week.
Naegele, who earned All-American honors in softball for 2016, and Youel, who completed her eligibility in 2015 as NIU’s all-time wins leader and the 2015 MAC Player of the Year, were both named Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) during their final seasons.
A third-team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, Naegele set five school records, including single season marks for home runs (20), RBIs (56), slugging percentage (.894) and career records for home runs (32) and RBIs (144). She started all 165 games for NIU during her three-year career, a majority of them at catcher.
A first-team All-MAC selection, Naegele helped lead NIU to its first MAC West Division crown since 2000 in 2016. She recorded 19 multi-RBI, 18 multi-hit and three multi-home run games. The Oak Forest, Illinois native is nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She earned her degree in pre-physical therapy in May, graduating with a 3.90 grade point average, and plans to pursue her master’s degree in physical therapy at NIU.
Like Naegele, Youel majored in pre-physical therapy as an undergrad, graduating this past May with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She will attend graduate school at the University of Iowa.
A three-time Academic All-MAC selection in her collegiate career, she was a second team at-large CoSIDA Academic All-American after finishing her senior season undefeated in spring singles matches at 20-0. A native of Crystal Lake, Ill., Youel was the first Huskie ever to be named Mid-American Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Year after posting a 31-3 overall record in 2015. She set the NIU women’s tennis program’s all-time records for combined (163), singles (89) and doubles (74) wins as well as the mark for single season wins.
The $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships are available to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and wish to pursue a postgraduate course of study. The NCAA distributes 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, with 29 scholarships available for men and 29 for women at the conclusion of each sports season (fall, winter, spring).
Candidates are evaluated on athletic and academic achievements, campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership. Student-athletes are nominated by the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) from their institution.
Naegele and Youel join a distinguished list of Northern Illinois University winners of the NCAA scholarship award that includes recent recipients Dusty Page (men’s soccer, fall 2014), Nabal Jefferson (football, fall 2012) and Kristin Hoffman (volleyball, fall 2011) as well as Huskie Hall of Famer T.J. Lux (men’s basketball).
For more information on NIU athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.