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Jessie Harper and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza named All-Americans, plan to return to Arizona in 2021

NCAA SOFTBALL: MAY 19 Division I Championship Regional Game 3 - Arizona v North Dakota State
Jessie Harper
Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’ll never know what Jessie Harper and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza were truly capable of in 2020, but before COVID-19 canceled the season they were undoubtedly among the nation’s top talents.

Both Arizona seniors were named First-Team All-Americans by Softball America on Tuesday.

Harper defended her crown as the Pac-12 home run queen, blasting a league-best 10 homers in 25 games. After leading the NCAA in long balls in 2019, she finished 10th in the nation in 2020.

The shortstop has 76 career home runs, 20 shy of breaking the NCAA record and 17 shy of shattering Arizona’s all-time record currently held by Katiyana Mauga.

Harper led Arizona in batting average (.395), homers (10) and RBI (29), becoming the first to do that since Lovie Jung in 2003.

Palomino-Cardoza hit .373 with seven homers, seven doubles, and 26 RBI, and still has never made an error in center field.

The NCAA recently granted spring student-athletes an extra year of eligibility after their 2020 seasons were cut short, and APC and Harper have both indicated that they will return in 2021.

For APC, it will be her sixth year in the program. She redshirted as a true freshman in 2016 after tearing her ACL in fall practice.

“Great grandma szn #6,” APC wrote on Twitter.

“On deck, ready for my 5th year!” Harper posted on Instagram.

Senior ace Mariah Lopez and second baseman Reyna Carranco are also expected to return. The status of pitcher Alyssa Denham and third baseman Malia Martinez is less clear.