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Special Recognition

Swanson Named NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete

Bemus Point resident and Houghton College junior-to-be Elise Swanson has been honored for her success in the classroom and on the softball field. Photo courtesy of Houghton College

Elise Swanson has had a busy summer so far.

Working at Mission Meadows in Dewittville, her responsibilities include day-camp counselor; facility cleaner; and family-camp programmer.

“It’s a smaller staff this year, so we’re doing more,” she said.

Of course, the Bemus Point resident has grown accustomed to effectively keeping all the plates spinning, whether it be on the shores of Chautauqua Lake or at Houghton College where she will be entering her junior year this fall.

In fact, Elise, the daughter of Mike and Miranda, finds herself in some select company as she was recently named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Scholar Athlete.

“A couple weeks ago, I was actually at work and my mom sent me a text, letting me know there was an envelope from Houghton,” Elise said. “I told her she could open it, and she sent me a picture.”

The honor is a reflection of Elise’s performance on the field and in the classroom. According to the NFCA website, athletes who achieve a 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale are recognized after being nominated by their NFCA-member head coach, are voted for by the coaches in their region or division, and ultimately selected by elected All-American committee members.

“I guess I didn’t realize it was such a big deal when I first got it,” Elise said, “but, yeah, it’s nice to know that it’s not just athletics that are recognized, but it’s academics, too.”

An English major at Houghton, Elise plans to add a political science major this fall, hoping eventually to attend law school.

Until then, she’ll just keep doing what she’s doing. This spring it meant juggling her school work in addition to playing both tennis and softball for the Highlanders this spring.

“The coaches have been awesome,” Elise said. “I would go to tennis (practice) on Tuesday and Thursday and softball on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They were great. They made it possible.”

A fine high school softball player and one of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association’s top tennis players her senior year at Maple Grove High School, Elise posted a 3-4 first-singles record at Houghton this spring and teamed with Erin Haley for a 2-5 mark at first doubles.

On the softball diamond, Elise played first base, sporting a .990 fielding percentage (two errors in 199 chances), and batted .184 with five doubles and nine RBIs.

Because of COVID-19 and the necessary mandated protocols, the seasons were held simultaneously.

“Usually, I’d have a couple months to make the switch,” Elise said. “It was a challenge and I’m always up for a challenge. … It was my first (softball) season at the college level, so I was really excited, and I think it went pretty well overall. I love my team and I love my experience.”

Her results, in the classroom and on the field, confirm why.

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