The Midwest Conference announced on Friday that Lake Forest College softball player Kat Beall is the 2017-18 recipient of the MWC Ruth Peterson Award.
The Ruth Peterson Award is presented to the MWC female student-athlete who posted the highest grade-point averages during her junior year, in this case 2016-17. The equivalent on the men's side is the Roy LeClere Award, which went to Sean Kisch, a pole vaulter on the Illinois College track and field team. The award is typically presented in the fall but the need to establish tiebreaking criteria delayed this year's selection.
Ruth Peterson is the former Commissioner of the Midwest Athletic Conference for Women, who went on to serve as the Co-Commissioner of the MWC. Peterson, a Beloit College alum and employee, passed away in October of 2006. Roy W. LeClere was a collegiate sports enthusiast whose passion for the MWC led friends and co-workers to originally sponsor the award as a memorial in his honor.
The award is one of many earned by Beall, a mathematics and finance major, for her work in the classroom. In 2016 the conference began presenting the MWC Elite 20 Award to the player at the four-team conference tournament with the highest cumulative grade point average and, after three years, she is still the only player to take it home. Beall is also a four-time Academic All-MWC honoree and earned Lake Forest's Scholar/Athlete Award (highest GPA of any letter winner in previous three semesters) and was named to the Forester Academic Team (highest cumulative GPA in each sport) each year she was eligible.
Although she was the College's first Ruth Peterson Award recipient for her academic accomplishment, Beall was also successful on the field. A four-year starter at shortstop and second base, she finished her career with a .302 batting average, 30 doubles, 13 home runs, 15 stolen bases, 54 walks, 88 runs scored, and 89 RBI in 157 games. As a middle infielder she posted a career fielding percentage of .921 and ranks seventh in program history with 249 assists.
The Foresters claimed three MWC titles, made three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, and was 116-54 overall and 60-10 in the league during Beall's career. the team's victory total since 2015 is the highest of any four-year span in program history.