Allenhurst native Harley Dawson was one of eight Columbus State University softball players named to the Peach Belt Conference Team of Academic Distinction.
Dawson carries a team-high 3.74 grade point average while majoring in Kinesiology.
For Dawson it was her third selection an academic honoree
“It makes you feel that you are not only achieving something on the field but also in the classroom. It makes you feel good about yourself and I can also keep HOPE, which is a good thing,” Dawson said.
Formerly known as the All-Academic team, the Peach Belt Conference Teams of Academic Distinction are part of a season-long program recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of PBC student-athletes in the classroom as well as on the field.
To be eligible for the Team of Academic Distinction, a student-athlete must achieved a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), have completed at least one full academic year and reached sophomore athletic eligibility. Players named to the teams are based on grades through the fall 2019 semester.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 season, CSU had a overall record of 14-9 and was 2-0 in conference play.
Dawson thinks the team was starting to peak at the right time, before the season came to an end.
“We started off slow and we started to figure things out and had won three games in a row.”
After spending three years mainly working from the bullpen, Dawson was Columbus State’s opening day starter for the 2020 season. Dawson, a senior right-handed pitcher, had a team-best 2.51 earned run average while sporting a 5-3 record. The daughter of Jeff and Julie Dawson had pitched 61.1 innings and struck out 58 batters.
March 12 was the last time the Cougars took the field, a double-header sweep over USC Aiken. Dawson took the mound in both wins.
In the first game, a 9-1 victory, Dawson pitched the final inning of the game and struck out all three batters she faced. In the nightcap, a 3-0 shutout, Dawson pitched three innings in relief, struck out four batters while giving up three hits.
Three times this season Dawson had games with at least eight strikeouts.
The NCAA granted student-athletes who participate in spring sports another year of eligibility if they wished to return to school and Dawson is taking them up on that offer.
“I will be the only senior returning to the team. I will be doing my student teaching in the fall and will graduate in December,” she states. Dawson will enroll in graduate school in the spring semester in hopes of earning a master’s degree in Health & Physical Education.
Since leaving campus, Dawson finished up the spring semester taking online courses. She has also been keeping in shape by running and lifting weights. She is also spending time working in her parents business, Dawson’s General Store which is in Walthourville on Highway 84.
Dawson is a graduate of Long County High School where she lettered all four years. She received all region honors each year and in 2014 was the Region Pitcher of the Year. Dawson earned all state honorable mention honors in 2014 and made second team all state as a senior in 2015.