Averett’s Taylor Dix and Samantha Hall Named Academic All-Americans

Posted on May 28th, 2015 by Travis Dix

By Evan Slavit, reporter for the Danville Register & Bee

The accolades keep coming for the Averett softball team with both junior Taylor Dix and sophomore Samantha Hall selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) to the 2015 Capital One Academic All-American Division III team.

The two are the first in program history to earn the honor, with Dix named to the Second Team and Hall named to the Third Team.

It’s also the second All-American nod the two have received in the last week, after both were voted to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Second Team. They’re also the first double All-Americans in Averett’s history.

“It’s completely an honor to be able to say that,” said Dix. “I only have one more year left, so to be able to do this for the history for Averett is just a great honor and I can’t believe I’m actually a part of it.”

“I hope, with Samantha and I winning these awards, it puts Averett on the map for everything in general. Just to get the Averett name out there and show everyone that Averett is doing things right both academically and athletically.”

“It’s definitely a confidence booster because I just started nursing school,” said Hall. “Going into nursing school with that makes me feel like I’m doing something right. I need to obviously keep doing that, and hopefully I’ll come out and have just as high as a GPA.”

The honor is well deserved.

Dix, a Danville native and Bartlett Yancey grad, set the USA South conference single-season record with a .540 batting average, which also ranked first in the nation. She finished with 22 doubles, three home runs, 58 runs batted in and 48 runs scored in 41 games. She ranked second in the nation in on-base percentage at .645, fourth in doubles per game and fourth in RBIs per game.

She was named the 2015 USA South Conference Player of the Year and was a USA South All-Conference First Team selection, while earning NFCA Atlantic All-Region First Team honors.

The shortstop was also named to the USA South All-Tournament Team and earned the Capital One Academic All-District honors.

Hall batted .500 in 40 games, finished with 68 hits, 52 runs scored, a double and nine RBIs. She also led the USA South in stolen bases for the second year in a row with 45 steals in 49 attempts. She ranks third nationally in stolen bases, ninth in batting average and 12th in runs scored per game.

She was named to the USA South All-Conference First Team and the NFCA Atlantic All-Region First Team. She also earned the Capital One Academic All-District honor.

Academically, Dix holds a 3.63 GPA while majoring in two concentrations of psychology, and Hall has a 3.82 GPA while majoring in nursing.

“They’re both huge accomplishments,” said Dix. “It’s a once in a lifetime type of thing to have both. But the academic weighs a bit higher for me because all my hard work after practice has finally paid off.”

Both credited Averett’s faculty for their success.

“I owe it all to my school and my team,” explained Dix. “For the academic award, that couldn’t have been done without having the professors I have. They work with us and understand us student-athletes, and it makes things a little more manageable to be a student-athlete at Averett.”

“I definitely had a lot of accommodations,” said Hall. “In the two years I’ve been here I’ve had to take tests at weird times. We were leaving at 7 a.m. one time, and I showed up at 6 a.m. to take a test. Then there was a time I had to take a test three days before. I had a bunch of teachers that let me come in at different times, just really accommodating and helpful. I definitely like that small environment and knowing my teachers care about me, and are willing to stay after with me and have their hours open.

“I know we’re a small school, but I think it shows we’re a meaningful school. You don’t just come here to get an education, you make meaningful relationships. Some of the professors I’ll talk to till I die. They’re not just my professors, they’ve become my really good friends. I really appreciate them for it.”

The duo is just two of ten Division III athletes to receive both All-American honors, and Averett is one of just three schools to have multiple Academic All-Americans, along with Fontbonne University and Wheaton College (Mass.).

The accolades cap a historic season for Averett softball, with the Cougars finishing the season 35-5-1, making the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance, first NCAA Regional win, a USA South Conference regular season championship and its first national ranking.