Senior Carley Barjaktarovich fields a ground ball in Lehigh's game against Lafayette on April 2. Barjaktarovich is nominated for the NCAA CLASS award for her accomplishments on and off the diamond.(Catherine Adams/B&W Staff)

Softball senior named finalist for NCAA CLASS award


After 16 years of playing her sport, senior shortstop Carley Barjaktarovich has gotten used to juggling more than softball.

Barjaktarovich was announced as a finalist for the NCAA CLASS Award (community, classroom, character, and competition) for her exceptional involvement outside of the softball diamond.

She, along with Boston University’s Nicole Amodio, are the only two Patriot League softball players nominated.

“There is no one more deserving of this nomination,” senior Melissa Fedorka said. “Carley (Barjaktarovich’s) commitment to her peers, sport and university exemplifies that she is an excellent candidate for this award.” 

As a double major, a member of the starting lineup for a Division I softball team and a senior in the final weeks of the academic year, Barjaktarovich said her schedule is jam-packed. However, over the past four years she has become familiar with managing a fast-paced lifestyle. 

“It’s been busy, but manageable for me because for my entire life I’ve always been a ‘go, go, go’ kind of person,” Barjaktarovich said. “I oftentimes have to force myself to stop and sit down for a minute to have lunch.” 

Barjaktarovich was one of three Lehigh players to start in all 55 games her freshman year. She has been named to the Patriot League Honor Roll for three consecutive years. In the 2021 season, she was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Academic All-Patriot League and led the Patriot League with her .471 batting average, the second-highest single season average in Lehigh history.

Senior Carley Barjaktarovich steps up to the plate during a softball game against Lafayette on April 2. Barjaktarovich is one of two Patriot League softball players nominated for the NCAA CLASS award. (Catherine Adams/B&W Staff)


Alongside athletics and academics, Barjaktarovich has maintained a consistent presence throughout her college career in the leadership-focused Lehigh Athletics program called Flight 45, specifically through involvement in the Student-Athlete Mentor (S.A.M.) program. 

According to Flight 45’s website, the purpose of the program is to assist student-athletes in finding opportunities for education, engagement, experiential learning and consulting, which are offered to individuals and teams in a variety of formats. 

Groups of first-year student athletes are mentored by captains such as Barjaktarovich in “leading themselves, cultivating the skills necessary to make genuine connections with others, serving others and positively influencing direction,” according to Flight 45’s website.

Barjaktarovich said she has been a mentor at Flight 45’s S.A.M. program since the spring of her freshman year, which is the earliest point students are eligible to take steps to become a mentor. 

“I attend weekly meetings, working with our athletic staff and our other co-captains to really try to make their experience better and get them used to Lehigh Athletics as a whole,” Barjaktarovich said. “I really spend a lot of my time focusing and working on our student-athletes’ development and leadership abilities.”

Coach Fran Troyan said Barjaktarovich participating in S.A.M. has benefitted her performance on the field. 

“Carley (Barjaktarovich’s) involvement with Flight 45 and the S.A.M. Program, all of the skills she has learned there, she has been able to take them and apply them to softball,” Troyan said. “Everything she has applied herself to, she has done at the highest level.” 

Due to the effects of COVID-19 on spring sports in 2020, Barjaktarovich is eligible for another year of softball at Lehigh. She said she plans to return in the fall and take advantage of this opportunity. 

She said she not only intends to reclaim her position as shortstop, but her role in the S.A.M. program as well.

Barjaktarovich said being a mentor for student athletes through Flight 45 has not only been an educational experience, but it has also led her to find the direction she wants to take in the future.

“Because of my experiences here, particularly with the S.A.M. program and Lehigh Athletics, I know I want to stay within collegiate athletics in some capacity,” Barjaktarovich said. “Right now, I’m leaning towards sports performance and I’m aiming to get a master’s degree in exercise science.”

Playing softball for more than three-quarters of her life has kept Barjaktarovich active. She said her secret to keeping everything under control as a student-athlete is to just “smile, and take a deep breath.”

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