LOUISVILLE, KY. – The accolades continue to come for St. Catherine University softball head coach Colleen Powers. Just two weeks after leading St. Kate's to its first ever appearance in the Division III Women's College World Series, Powers and her staff were named the Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), the organization announced Monday morning.
Powers led the Wildcats to their best season in program history in 2017, which was highlighted by a trip to the Division III Championship after winning the Decorah Regional and St. Paul Super Regional during the NCAA Tournament. With Powers at the helm, the Wildcats posted a 38-14 overall record and went 17-5 in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) play to finish in second place in the conference standings. She also guided St. Kate's to its first every MIAC Playoff Tournament Title, as the Wildcats did not drop a single game over the course of the three day tournament, to earn the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. At the Regional in Decorah, Iowa, Powers coached St. Kate's to its first ever NCAA Regional Championship in dramatic fashion, beating No. 3 Luther College twice on the final day to take home the gold, before beating MIAC rival St. Thomas twice in the Super Regional to advance to the NCAA Championship.
In addition to earning Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors, Powers was named MIAC Coach-of-the-Year for the second consecutive season in 2017. She earned the 100th victory of her career with St. Kate's 3-1 win over Hamline in the MIAC Playoffs. Since taking over the program in 2014, Powers has only posted one losing record and has turned the Wildcats into not only one of the top programs in the MIAC but the nation as well. In four years, Powers has a career record of 108-60 and a 52-34 record in MIAC play.
In addition to Powers, first year pitching coach Kallie Rezny and assistant Jordan Rice were also recognized for their contributions to St. Kate's softball program. Rezny guided Wildcat pitchers to a 38-14 record during the 2017 season and helped junior ace Krista Flugstad (Bloomington, Minn. / Jefferson) earn All-Region and All-America honors with a 29-7 record during the year. Rice was also instrumental to the Wildcats success as the team's top assistant, working with both catchers and infielders during the season.
Thanks to the coaches' efforts, a record number of St. Kate's student-athletes earned conference and national recognition. Five Wildcats earned All-MIAC honors at the end of the season, including Flugstad, third baseman Jenna George (Ellsworth, Wis. / Ellsworth), shortstop Kylie Macziewski (Bloomington, Minn. / Jefferson) left fielder Anna Hinderaker (Rosemount, Minn. / Rosemount) and center fielder Amber Montero (Circle Pines, Minn. / Centennial). George became the first Wildcat to earn First Team All-America honors and also earned All-Region recognition and was named MIAC Player-of-the-Year honors. Macziewski joined Flugstad and George on the Midwest All-Region team and earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
St. Kate's coaching staff was one of eight to receive the NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honors. Powers and her staff is now under consideration to receive the NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year honor, which will be announced later this month.