Top 5 Athletes April 27-May 5

Top 5 Athletes April 27-May 5

By Scott A. Nicol

5. Junior softball infielder Bekah Harnish

Harnish dropped out of the April 27 edition of the Top 5 Athletes after being No. 1 in the April 10 edition of Top 5.

She dropped out of the Top 5, not so much because of her performance, but because other student-athletes, such as Raven Neely, freshman women’s tennis player and freshman men’s golfer Jordan Less simply out-performed her.

Harnish finds herself back in the Top 5 after being on a season-high eight-game hitting streak, which has seen her average spike from .258 to .281.

Harnish has also scored a run in each of those games, and 10 runs overall in the recent stretch, which is why she rounds out the final edition of this semester’s Top 5 Athletes.

4. Junior baseball outfielder Roderick Bynum

This is Bynum’s first time being named to the Top 5 Athletes as he has raised his average from .276 to .289 since April 28, which includes three multi-hit games.

Bynum has had two, three-hit games in his past three games played while adding six RBIs.

Before this outburst, Bynum had only driven in 13 RBIs on the season.

Bynum has also scored nine runs, which includes a five-run game Friday in a win against Central Michigan University, which is why he sits at No. 4 in Top 5 Athletes.

3. Junior softball pitcher Tara Thacker

Thacker has two complete games, both against Eastern Michigan University, and both resulted in wins.

On April 28 against Eastern Michigan, Thacker pitched a two-hit, complete game.

Thacker has gone 3-1 overall in her past four starts, and has kept her ERA below three with a 2.67 season ERA.

2. Senior first Baseman Kayti Grable

Grable is back into this Top 5 after being absent from the listsince Feb. 27, but similar to Harnish, it is not because of her performance. It’s because other athletes stood out more.

Grable has been a vital piece to the softball team all season, but there has not been a spike in her game until recently.

Grable is currently on a season-high nine-game hitting streak since April 26, to boost her team-leading average to .389.

Grable has eight RBIs in the past seven games, and is a big part of why softball has gone 6-1 in its past seven games.

Grable has also not struck out in those seven games.,

1. Hope Schmelzle, senior track and field runner

Schmelzle is No. 1 for the second consecutive edition, to make her the only student-athlete to repeat as No. 1 all semester.

Schmelzle set her third school record of the season with a time of 10:4.17 April 29 in the 3,000 meters steeplechase at the Drake Relays, which broke her own record that she set last year.

This was Schmelzle’s second first-place finish in as many weeks in the steeplechase.

Schmelzle was named MAC Track Athlete of the Week for the week April 30 for her performances that week.

This was Schmelzle’s second time being named with this honor. This will be her last time because an athlete can only be given this award twice during a season, according to NIU Media Services.

Schmelzle is ranked fourth in the NCAA West Region and eighth in the nation for the 3,000 meter steeplechase, and has been nothing short of dominant all seasonlong for NIU Track & Field, which is why she is the only student-athlete to repeat as No. 1 in the Top 5 Athletes