Anna Strien (‘18) recognized for her all-around success at Luther

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Anna Strien (‘18) recognized for her all-around success at Luther

Anna Strien (‘18) rejoices after an RBI she hit during a game against Nebraska Wesleyan in the 2018 season.

Anna Strien (‘18) rejoices after an RBI she hit during a game against Nebraska Wesleyan in the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau

Anna Strien (‘18) rejoices after an RBI she hit during a game against Nebraska Wesleyan in the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau

Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau

Anna Strien (‘18) rejoices after an RBI she hit during a game against Nebraska Wesleyan in the 2018 season.

Linh Do, Staff Writer

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In early June, Anna Strien (‘18) was selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America for the Google Cloud Academic All-America Softball Team. Eleven athletes are named to each team making for a total of 33 athletes chosen from hundreds.

Nominees of this award must have at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s games at the nominee’s playing position.

There are three teams that make up the All-America Team and Strien was selected for the second one. Honorees are selected by members of CoSIDA and CoSIDA’s Board of Directors.

Strien was honored to receive the news from her coach before anyone else.

“I was very excited when I got the news,” Strien said. “I actually got the news of this honor from my coach, who had texted me prior to it being released on social media sites. It was awesome to hear it from her first.”

Strien is the 70th Luther athlete since 1980 to be named a CoSIDA Academic All-American. She holds numerous titles including being a four-time All-Iowa Conference award recipient, a three-time All-Midwest Region team member, and a two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association first-team All-American at her position as shortstop.

Strien’s drive in both her pursuits at Luther, academia, and softball are the founding qualities CoSIDA honors. According to the CoSIDA official website, the Google Cloud Academic All-America program began in 1952 and since then, has honored thousands of deserving student-athletes from numerous sports across all divisions. 

Photo courtesy of Anna Strien (‘18)
Anna Strien (‘18) shakes hands with President Paula Carlson upon receiving her diploma at Commencement after the softball team returned from placing third at the NCAA III National Championships last year.

Head Softball Coach and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Renae Hartl thought the nomination itself was remarkable considering there are over 8,000 softball student-athletes competing for only [33] spots on these elite All-America teams.

“[Strien] holds Luther College career records for RBI (Runs Batted In) (175), Doubles (57), Hit-by-Pitch (43), and Defensive Assists (291) and in 2017, she recorded the best batting average of any other softball player in our 50 year successful history holding the clip of .531 that season,” Hartl said. “I would say that she is the most decorated softball student-athlete to date.”

The honors she has received for her hard work on the field were reflected in her class work, too. Strien graduated last year with a political science degree and an accumulated grade point average of 3.72. Strien’s consistent devotion to her studies was emulated in her accumulation of academic awards including a three-time NFCA Scholar All-American, three-time Iowa Conference Spring Sports All-Academic Team honoree and member of the Chi Alpha Sigma  — Excellence in Athletics & Academics honor society.

Associate Professor of Political Science Carly Hayden Foster instructed Strien over the course of her academic journey, and found her to be very committed to her studies.

“I thought [Strien] was a perfect example of what we hoped to see in athlete scholars,” Foster said. “We want someone who works really hard, and ends up doing really well in both her academics and her athletic competition. She did a really good job of balancing both of those things and found a lot of success in both.”

Strien attributes her success at Luther to those who were with her throughout the entire journey.

“This honor to some may seem like an individual award but in reality, it is far from it,” Strien said. “My coaches, teammates, and professors all pushed me to be the best student, person, and softball player I could be throughout my entire four years at Luther. Without them I would not have been able to achieve this honor and become the person I am today.”

Hartl believes that the support Strien received through her journey at Luther was reflected in Strien’s ability to support others.

“Strien played at a 10 and her teammates knew she needed [them] to be there to be her best,” Hartl said. “Ultimately, her teammates thrived on this and she made all of them better players and people as they came out of their shells to take the field and play with her.”

Foster also commented on Strien’s teamwork skills during a moot court in one of her classes. A moot court is practice for students to argue imaginary cases.

“[Strien] worked really well as part of the team of justices,” Foster said. “I imagine that her ability to work well with other people that helps her on the field […] certainly also helps her in the class. She is a very strong leader, both on the field and in class.”

Strien appreciates everything she experienced while at Luther, from her first day on campus until her last day at the Commencement ceremony with her fellow seniors on the Luther football field.

“You go to college to improve yourself,” Strien said. “You grow in many different ways and recognizing that will not only help you in the long run, but enable you to appreciate the opportunities you have been given.”

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