COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M outside hitter Mary Batis and outfielder Kelsey Spittler have been recognized as All-American Strength and Conditioning Athletes of the Year, the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) recently announced.
Batis received the honor for the second consecutive year, while Spittler earned the award for the first time in 2009.
A&M strength and conditioning coach Raychelle Ellsworth nominated the two for the award, which recognizes student-athletes’ dedication to strength training and conditioning.
“Mary finished No. 1 overall again with the off-season testing,” Ellsworth said. “She lifted 399 percent of her bodyweight in the three lifts -- bench press, squat and dead lift -- and she has an excellent vertical jump and good lateral quickness. She is a gifted athlete who is at her best when her best is needed.
“Kelsey also finished No. 1 in off-season testing. She lifted 440 percent of her bodyweight in the three lifts as well as being one of the fastest athletes on our team. She is an all-around athlete who finds a way to get the job done. She has been a pleasure to coach.”
NSCA Executive Director Robert Jursnick adds, “The advantages of strength training and conditioning cannot be denied in collegiate athletics. These student-athletes attest to this understanding and are to be applauded for their hard work and dedication.”
This past season, Batis earned A&M volleyball’s annual Best Defensive Player award after leading the Aggies in total digs for the third consecutive year, posting 315 for a team-leading 2.81 per set average. The junior also was named Big 12 honorable mention and was named to the all-tournament teams at both the Bluejay Invitational and the Texas A&M Invitational, where she collected MVP honors.
Spittler has started 42 of 45 games in left field for the Aggie softball team this season and holds a .254 batting average with 31 hits, five doubles, two triples and 17 RBIs. The sophomore had a career performance against Rutgers on March 15, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. In February, Spittler hit a game-winning, RBI single in the eighth inning to lift A&M over then-No. 18 Houston, 4-3, before lacing a two-out, bases-clearing double in the seventh to even the score and force extra innings against Illinois.
Batis, a San Antonio, Texas, native started every match and played in all but two sets during her three years at A&M. This past season, Batis became the ninth player in A&M history to surpass both 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career while leading the Aggies to a 16-14 record and a tie with NCAA regional finalist Iowa Sate for fourth place in the powerful Big 12 Conference with an 11-9 mark.
From Caldwell, Texas, Spittler holds a .263 career average with 75 hits, 10 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 39 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. As a freshman, Spittler’s RBI triple in the ninth inning against Florida at the Women’s College World Series advanced A&M to the national championship series.