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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

All Americans: Jordan and Funke -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



When one hears the term "All-American" associated with a particular players name, the thoughts tend to go to spectacular performances on their particular field or court of competition. Leading their team to victories, high national rankings and a bit of respect when you see that your next opponent has a few All-Americans on their roster.

There is another side to being an All-American, though, and that falls on the academic side of a student-athletes life. High performance levels in the classroom, a grade-point average that excels and a recognition that there is a considerable amount of time being spent in academic pursuits and the successful results produced in the field of study, testing and results. 

Louisville Softball is the latest sport on campus to get good news from the academic side of the college experience. Senior catcher Jenna Jordan (Fort Collins, Co) and sophomore outfielder Celene Funke (Carmel, IN) earned the accomplishments that were just awarded to 33 Division I softball players. They are part of the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-American Division I Academic All-American team.

The qualification standards for the honor are quite demanding. Potential student-athletes for the team must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.0 and have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings. 

It is stringent and not an easy journey...this quest to be on the Academic All-American list.  Only two Softball Cards have received the acknowledgment before. Catherine Bishop (2006) and Kristi Cunningham (2009).

Bishop, a Cardinal pitcher from Adelaide, Australia was the first for Cards Softball and was also the Big East Pitcher of the Year as a junior. She set a school record for wins with her 30-6 record and also carried a 3.43 G.P.A. in Biology.

Cunningham, a four-year starter in the outfield out of Gallatin, TN, was also the UofL Freshman of the Year and maintained a 3.83 G.P.A. while going through the pre-Nursing program at UofL. 

About this year's honorees:

-- Jordan, who made the second team, held a 4.0 G.P.A. in her three years at UofL in Exercise Science. She landed at Louisville after a freshman year at Northern Colorado. We interviewed her at the 2018 Louisville Softball Banquet and found her to be a delightful, intelligent and conversational woman with a nice sense of humor. Her journey to Louisville is one that everyone should watch and know. You can view it at

The story will have a profound effect upon you. I viewed it again this morning while preparing this article and tears were streaming down my face. My wife Sonya even came in to see what the matter was. I replayed it for her. Yep, we were sharing tissues. Her journey has been incredible. Her future so bright, her travels lined with heartbreak and hope. 

She was also a power on the field, with a .272 batting average and an arm that made potential base-stealers think twice and usually regret their decisions to try and "test the cannon". 

-- Funke also has a 4.0 G.P.A. and her pursuits are in the finance field. Maybe she can help our Jared Anderson at Cardinal Couple turn those quarters into nickles and dimes if she has any spare time . Like Jordan, she's been on the Honor Roll every semester here at UofL. A flamboyant and talented outfielder, she became "the darling" of the ACC Network Extra and Fox Sports Southeast announcers during the ACC Tournament for her spectacular catches.  You can get the "Funke" file and spotlight at this following link:

These two exemplary women are just a couple of the many success stories and uplifting, inspirational student-athletes who spend their collegiate pursuits on the Belknap Campus.
College is an experience that not all get the opportunity to participate in. It's a time of decisions, life-lessons, bonding and growth. 

In Funke and Jordan, it has been and will continue to be an event-filled trip on their life's journey. A journey that will take them to fantastic places, intriguing situations and the entire spectrum of the term "experience".  

We're glad, here at Cardinal Couple, to have the chance to be interested and impressed have the opportunity to help share their stories and re-tell their journeys. There are "Jordan and Funke" type stories on all of the athletic squads at UofL and learning them and being able to spread them is one of the reasons we do what we do and why we enjoy it so. 

(Portions of today's article were gathered from and Softball SID Lori Korte. We gratefully acknowledge their fine work) 



  1. Wow. What an incredible story about Jordan. I got tears too, Paulie

    Curtis "Mr. Sentimental" Franklin

  2. We have just learned that, effective immediately, Sandy Pearsall, UofL head softball coach, is retiring and it is effective immediately. JAred will have more on this in his Wednesday column



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