Former ACHS student athlete qualifies for U.S. softball team

Kelsey Stewart, an Arkansas City native and two-time National Champion with the Florida Gators, qualified as a member of the U.S. women’s team for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Kelsey Stewart, a four-sport star for Arkansas City High School before finishing her prep career in 2012 at Maize High, was named to the U.S. Olympic softball team.

Stewart was a four-time first-team All-State selection as a pitcher, then shortstop for the Lady Bulldogs and Lady Eagles. As a member of the Lady Bulldogs, she was named the 2010 Kansas Softball Gatorade Player of the Year.

Stewart ended her high school career by hitting .649 with 12 home runs, 52 runs and 65 RBI. She had a 1.378 slugging percentage and .711 on-base percentage in helping to lead Maize to a 22-2 record, 12-0 in AV-CTL D-I play, and a trip to the KSHSAA Class 6A State semifinals.

Stewart began her high school career as a pitcher and second baseman for the Lady Bulldogs, once tossing a three-inning perfect game in a regional tournament. She shifted full-time to shortstop as a junior before transferring to Maize, where she graduated in 2012. She batted .555 as a junior, with six home runs while stealing 22 bases in 23 attempts. She also had a 1.111 slugging percentage, and did not commit an error at shortstop.

Stewart, who also competed in basketball and volleyball, and was a cheerleader, signed to play softball at the University of Florida.

She was named to the 2013 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman and All-Tournament teams, and was second-team All-SEC.

She was named to the SEC All-Defensive team at second base her sophomore year, and was a member of the All-SEC first team. She also made the Women’s College World Series All-Tournament team after helping to lead the Gators to the NCAA Division I National Championship. Stewart also was named to the 2014 USA Softball Women’s National Team.

She was only getting started.

The 2015 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year finished her collegiate career with back-to-back NCAA Championships (2014 and 2015), along with a long list of accolades and records.

A two-time NFCA first-team All-American and three-time Team USA member, Stewart is one of only two players in NCAA history to post 30-plus steals and 100-plus hits in a single season, an accomplishment she reached twice in her career, according to the University of Florida. Stewart holds Florida’s career records in batting average (.417) and on-base percentage (.476), total hits (293), triples (27) and stolen bases (98).

In her junior season, Stewart led the Gators in almost every major offensive category. Her .435 batting average ranked fourth in the SEC and she led the Florida offense in runs scored (71), hits (101), doubles (19), triples (11), total bases (148) and stolen bases (26).

Stewart was named SEC Player of the Year in her senior campaign as the Gators won back-to-back National championships.

She turned pro after she was selected 12th overall by the Florida Pride in the 2016 National Pro Fastpitch draft.

Stewart’s experience has already far exceeded the collegiate level.

She is a two-time World Baseball Softball Confederation gold medalist (2016, 2018), stroking a game-winning, walk-off hit in the 2018 Gold Medal game against Japan. She was a silver medalist in both the WBSC Women’s World Championship and WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship, was a 2019 Pan American Games gold medalist, a 2017 Pan American Championship gold medalist and a 2015 Pan American Games silver medalist.

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