RALEIGH, NC - J.J. Niekro, a sophomore at Florida Southern College, is the recipient of the Elite 90 Award for the 2018 NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament. He is the third Moccasin student-athlete to receive this prestigious honor this year as Courtney Charneco (volleyball) and Julia Couch (women's lacrosse) were so honored at their respective national tournaments. Overall, Florida Southern has had seven Elite 90 Award recipients since 2011.
Niekro, a sports communication and marketing major, has a perfect 4.00-grade point average over his two years at Florida Southern. The Plant City, Fla. native was presented with the award during the baseball national championship banquet Friday evening at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Niekro is 6-1 for Florida Southern with a 3.57 earned run average and 70 strikeouts in 80.2 innings pitched. He has started 15 games for the South Region Champion Moccasins who will be vying for their 10th NCAA Division II National Championship, beginning Saturday at 7 pm against Southern Indiana. The tournament continues through June 2.
The seven Moccasin Elite 90 recipients are tied for most in the NCAA Divison II and Florida Southern is just the second institution to have three Elite 90 Award winners in the same year.
The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships.
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
For more information on the Elite 90 award winners, visit NCAA.com/elite-90.
ELITE 90 AWARD RECIPIENTS
FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE
2010-11 – Marianne Andersson (Women's Golf)
2011-12 – Anna McIntyre (Women's Swimming)
2012-13 – Robbie Swan (Men's Swimming)
2014-15 – Tyler Logan (Men's Basketball)
2017-18 – Courtney Charneco (Volleyball), Julia Couch (Women's Lacrosse), and J.J. Niekro (Baseball)