INDIANAPOLIS – Scholar-Athletes of the Spring Season have been announced with UIC softball player, Taylor Cairns and Northern Kentucky tennis player, Mate Virag earning the honors.
Taylor Cairns / UIC / Softball / Junior / Torrance, Calif.
In her third season playing second base for UIC, Taylor Cairns had the best year of her career. The junior was just one of two Flames players to start and play in all 61 games on the season. Cairns had the fifth best batting average on the team posting a .277 average including a stellar .329 mark in Horizon League games. Her strong play was recognized by fellow coaches in the League as Cairns earned Second Team All-League distinction. The native of Torrance, Calif., also swiped 14 bases on the season which was second on the team and fifth most in the conference. Cairns helped UIC win both the regular season and tournament Horizon League titles and upend Missouri in the NCAA Tournament.
Cairns hard work on the field was matched in school as the she has recorded a near perfect GPA at UIC. The Biological Sciences major has been on every academic honor roll that she’s been eligible for and made the 2017 Horizon League Softball All-Academic Team. Cairns has also garnered national recognition academically earning a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team this past year as well as being named Easton/NFCA Scholar-Athlete in each of the last two seasons.
Mate Virag / Northern Kentucky / Tennis / Senior / Szentes, Hungary
Mate Virag capped off his tennis career attaining First Team All-League for the second year in a row. The senior played at the No. 1 singles spot for Northern Kentucky throughout year and went 4-3 in Horizon League play. Virag was named Player of the Week twice during the 2017 season notching nine singles wins and eight victories in doubles play during the spring.
Virag, majoring in Computer Sciences and Business Informatics, finished up his senior year with an unblemished GPA. Many accolades came Virag’s way receiving recognition as a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-District team. In addition, the senior also received Northern Kentucky’s Vincent G. Schulte Athlete of Distinction Award. Virag has been a mainstay on the Horizon League’s academic honor roll and was also a member of the 2017 Tennis All-Academic Team.
The Horizon League recognizes student-athletes at the conclusion of each of its three athletic seasons. To be eligible for scholar-athlete of the season consideration, a student-athlete must have a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.20 or higher (based on a 4.00 scale) and are honored on a combination of athletic and academic achievement.
2016-17 Scholar-Athletes of the Season
Fall - Grace Kauth, Cleveland State, Volleyball
Fall - Ben Kendell, Detroit Mercy, Cross Country
Winter - Mehryn Kraker, Green Bay, Basketball
Winter - Alec Peters, Valparaiso, Basketball
Spring - Taylor Cairns, UIC, Softball
Spring - Mate Virag, Northern Kentucky, Tennis