ESCANABA, MI – The Bay College Athletic Department announced Kaitlyn Hardwick (SO, Gladstone, MI) as the recipient of the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for the 2019-2020 school year.
Hardwick has been a two-sport athlete for the Norse, and has been an integral part of the Women's Basketball Team and Softball Team in her career at Bay College. As a freshman on the basketball team, she started in 16 of 29 games and scored 112 points while shooting 43.7% from the floor. Kaitlyn started in every game her sophomore season, leading the team in minutes played (676), field goal percentage (45.6%), and rebounds (148). She finished her basketball career playing in every game for the Norse over her two seasons, and playing 20 minutes per game and collecting 315 points, 222 rebounds, 76 assists, 67 steals, all while shooting 45.6% from the floor. She was named to the NJCAA Region 13 All-Region Team for the 2019-2020 season.
"I am so happy to hear that Kaitlyn was awarded the Student-Athlete of the Year Award," said Head Women's Basketball Coach Matt Gregory. "This type of honor sure does resemble Kaitlyn's every day personality. Her educational drive in the classroom, as well as her passion for sports, was on display this past year. She always found time to go above and beyond on campus, whether it was volunteering her time at sports clinics or tutoring her fellow students. Her energy as a dual-sport athlete was astonishing to see. I am so glad to have met Kaitlyn and to see the personal growth the past couple of years. She is a great role model for today's youth and I am beyond proud of her on this achievement."
On the softball field, Hardwick was phenomenal in the inaugural season for the Norse. She led the team in doubles (12), homeruns (5), runs batted in (55), and slugging percentage (.781) while playing in 29 games. She played the majority of her time at first base, allowing her to lead the team in putouts with 153 while putting up a .970 fielding percentage. She was named to the NJCAA Region 13 All-Region Team in 2019, as well as being named the Rookie of the Year by her peers for that season. In the shortened 2020 season she led the team in at bats with 49, and ended her season with a .388 batting average, .400 on base percentage, and a .612 slugging percentage. She had five doubles, two homeruns, and nine RBI in 13 games. She ended her career with a .429 batting average, .450 on base percentage, .727 slugging percentage, 17 doubles, 4 triples, and seven homeruns.
"Kaitlyn has been a joy to coach," said Head Softball Coach Heidi Charon. "She was a spark that ignited this team on the field, at practice, and in the gym; but most importantly, she has also been a role model in the classroom. Despite playing two sports that overlap for 3 months, she never let academics slip from the top of her priority list. And though I know it was challenging and exhausting, she sure made it look easy and was always wearing a smile and bringing tons of energy."
Hardwick reflected back on her career at Bay College. "I chose Bay College because it was close to home and it has a good student per teacher ratio. Bay College has pushed me to succeed by helping me take responsibility for my own learning. I struggled when I first started at Bay because I was balancing class work and two sports. It was a little overwhelming. Bay College offered many programs that helped me to succeed. They were there if you just need encouragement or even someone to talk to. The staff at Bay College has done phenomenal work to help me achieve my best as both a student and an athlete."
Hardwick plans to continue her academic career as an education major, hoping to work in an elementary setting. She also added, "I also hope one day to coach and be a role model to kids just like all my coaches have done for me."