Mackenzie Wright has been voted the American Athletic Conference Softball Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, it was announced Wednesday afternoon.
Wright is joined on the All-Conference First Team by Laurie Derrico and Bailey Lange with Paige Luellen and Ryleigh Buck earning All-Conference Second Team honors. In her freshman season Bailee Nickerson was named to the All-Rookie squad.
Wright becomes the first Shocker to earn Player of the Year honors since Cacy Williams was named both the 2014 and 2016 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and led all athletes since American play began in batting average with 29 hits in 64 at-bats for a .453 average. The 29 hits led the conference in that category with her 45 total bases also leading The American. Wright also led the conference in plate appearances (80) and tied for first in assists at third base with 52. Her .709 slugging percentage placed her second with a .538 on-base percentage and 16 runs scored placing her third. She becomes just the third Shocker in history to be a four-time all-conference selection since both Britnee Barnett and Katie McGeeney earned the honor from 2005-08.
All six athletes helped Wichita State to a tie for third position in its inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference with Lange leading The American in strikeouts looking and saves. She is also third in slugging percentage over the entire season. Derrico leads both the Shockers and The American in home runs during conference play and is tied for first in assists. She becomes a two-time All-Conference selection after earning Second-Team All-MVC honors in 2017.
Luellen, also a 2017 Second Team All-MVC selection, as well as a 2014 selection, earns her third all-conference nod. The senior from Tulsa, Okla., broke the Shocker career RBI record this season and could become the first Wichita State softball athlete to reach 150 runs batted in.
Buck is a first time all-conference selection in her second full season at Wichita State after leading The American in chances, putouts and fielding double plays at first base. Nickerson earns a spot on the All-Rookie squad after starting every conference game in the outfield and is fifth in The American in RBI, sixth in home runs and 10th in total bases.
Wichita State has had at least one first team selection for the past six seasons. This is the fifth consecutive season that multiple Shockers have earned the top honor.