KEARNEY — A former Kearney Bulldog finished her college career with all-conference accolades and multiple program records.
Benedictine College (Kansas) senior Blair Shanks earned Heart of America Athletic Conference All-Heart first team honors in 2020-21. She also earned the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete honors in 2021.
Shanks hit .385 in 54 regular-season games while recording 42 RBI, six home runs and 17 doubles, which set the new program record for career doubles at 71. She also set the career hits record for the Ravens with 220, despite starting her college career at Wayne State College (Nebraska) and having the COVID-19 pandemic end her junior campaign midway through the season.
Shanks graduated from Kearney in 2016, earning all-state second team during her senior year and all-conference first team in each of her last three seasons as a Bulldog. She hit above .400 during her senior season.
Shanks was not the only Bulldog breaking records for the Benedictine softball team. Alex Gilham, another 2016 Kearney grad and a senior pitcher for Ravens, broke the program record for career wins during the team’s 2-1 victory over Missouri Valley College on April 27.
Gilham earned all-state second team honors during her senior season of high school, as well as all-conference and all-district first team.
Kearney’s two highest winning percentage seasons over the last decade occurred during this duo’s junior and senior seasons.
Both athletes graduated from Benedictine in the spring. Shanks graduated with a degree in elementary education and Gilham graduated with a degree in finance.