Lafayette, LA (103.3 The Goat–  Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball pitcher/outfielder Karly Heath, the Sun Belt Conference Softball Player of the Year and an NFCA All-American in spring 2023, was honored as the conference's 2022-23 Female Student-Athlete of the Year award winner on Tuesday, October 24 at the Sun Belt Honors Banquet in Atlanta.

Courtesy Ben Massey - Louisiana Athletics
Courtesy Ben Massey - Louisiana Athletics

The Sun Belt Conference Student-Athlete of the Year award, which annually recognizes one female and one male student-athlete, is the conference's highest individual honor given and is based on athletic performance, academic success, outstanding leadership, and character.

Heath – who is continuing her education at Louisiana and is currently a graduate assistant on the softball coaching staff – becomes the second Ragin' Cajuns Softball student-athlete in the past three seasons of the Gerry Glasco era to win the award, joining Ciara Bryan who was the 2020-21 recipient.

Gerry Glasco
Photo by Brad Kemp

“Karly (Heath) was not only a tremendous player for us on the field, but was even more spectacular in the classroom and in establishing herself as a leader in the locker room and dugout,” Glasco said. “She is the epitome of what a student-athlete should desire to become.”

She becomes the sixth UL student-athlete overall, male or female, to receive the award during the Ragin’ Cajuns time as a SBC member (1991-present). The previous winners, all from the softball program, include: Brooke Mitchell (2003-04), Danyele Gomez (2005-06), Christi Orgeron (2011-12), Aleah Craighton (2016-17) and Bryan (2020-21).

She was honored alongside Troy Football linebacker Carlton Martial.

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Heath was the main catalyst for Louisiana's offense during its run to the NCAA Super Regional round last spring, leading the team in runs (52), extra base hits (26), home runs (16), RBI (47) and total bases (120). The North Augusta, South Carolina product established new career-high totals in home runs and RBI and produced her first 60-hit campaign.

She impacted the game with her speed as well, collecting 25 stolen bases in 27 attempts, and navigated Louisiana through the tough non-conference schedule prior to Sun Belt play – which featured 15 games vs. Power 5 foes – leading the team in average (.318), extra base hits (8), home runs (5), RBI (20), total bases (39) and runs (18) over the 27-game stretch.

In Sun Belt play, she posted a .443 average with 14 extra base hits, 20 RBI and 17 stolen bases, and ranked Top 10 in average, slugging, on base percentage, OPS, runs scored, hits, RBI and home runs.

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