OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma senior Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.), the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, and 49 other student-athletes have been selected for the “Watch List” for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. Now in its 12th year, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, given by the National Governing Body for softball in the United States, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the most prestigious individual honor in NCAA Division I Softball, are UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010), Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011) and pitcher Ricketts.
The pre-season “Watch List” includes 27 seniors, 15 juniors and eight sophomores, with freshman ineligible for consideration. (Freshman can be considered for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award once they have competed at the collegiate level.) Athletes named to the “Watch List” represent 34 NCAA Division I universities and 12 athletic conferences. While Tennessee leads the way among universities with four athlete representatives and the Southeastern (SEC) Conference leads with eight member schools represented.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 10. While an athlete does not have to be on the “Watch List” to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists. The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 8 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 22. On May 28 prior to the start of the 2013 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.
2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List
Name (School) – Year – Position – Hometown
Emily Allard (Northwestern) – Senior – Utility – Antioch, Calif.
Nikki Armagost (Pacific) – Senior – Pitcher/Utility – Andover, Kan.
Marisa Bast (Northwestern) – Junior – Infield – Orange, Calif.
B.B. Bates (UCLA) – Senior – Outfield – Victorville, Calif.
Cassidy Bell (Penn State) – Senior – Outfield – Bakersfield, Calif.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) – Senior – Outfield – Eugene, Ore.
Amy Buntin (Notre Dame) – Senior – Catcher – Franklin, Tenn.
Whitney Canion (Baylor) – RS Junior – Pitcher – Aledo, Texas
Lauren Chamberlain (Oklahoma) – Sophomore – Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) – Senior – Third base/Outfield – Thousand Oaks, Calif.
J.C. Clayton (BYU) – Senior – Infield – Hollister, Calif.
Brigette Del Ponte (Arizona) – Senior – Infield – Peoria, Ariz.
Mel Dumezich (Texas A&M) – Senior – Pitcher/Infield – Whiting, Ind.
Dallas Escobedo (Arizona State) – Junior – Pitcher – Glendale, Ariz.
Rachele Fico (LSU) – Senior – Pitcher – Oxford, Conn.
Amber Freeman (Arizona State) – Sophomore – Catcher – Lakewood, Calif.
Olivia Galati (Hofstra) – Senior – Pitcher/Designated Player – West Babylon, N.Y.
Teagan Gerhart (Stanford) – Senior – Pitcher – Norco, Calif.
Lauren Gibson (Tennessee) – Senior – Infield– Pasadena, Md.
Tara Glover (Boise State) – Junior – Outfield – Grants Pass, Ore.
Jolene Henderson (Cal) – Senior – Pitcher/First base – Elk Grove, Calif.
Taylor Hoagland (Texas) – Senior – Outfield/Third base – Flower Mound, Texas
Kylene Hopkins (Michigan State) – Senior – Outfield – Menifee, Calif.
Kaila Hunt (Alabama) – Junior – Infield – Evans, Ga.
Kaitlin Inglesby (Washington) – Junior – Pitcher – Portland, Ore.
Jessica Iwata (Hawaii) – Senior – Shortstop – Lihu’e, Hawaii
Alix Johnson (Arizona State) – Junior – Outfield – San Diego, Calif.
Stephany LaRosa (UCLA) – Sophomore – Diamond Bar, Calif.
Blaire Luna (Texas) – Senior – Pitcher – Austin, Texas
Hayley Miles (San Diego State) – Junior – Utility – Antelope, Calif.
Jessica Moore (Oregon) – Senior – Pitcher – Sutter, Calif.
Nerissa Myers (Louisiana-Lafayette) – Senior – Infield – Petal, Miss.
Sara Nevins (South Florida) – Junior – Pitcher – Pinellas Park, Fla.
Haley Outon (Houston) – Junior – Catcher – Pflugerville, Texas
Samantha Pappas (Oregon) – Senior – Outfield – Mission Viejo, Calif.
Ellen Renfroe (Tennessee) – Junior – Pitcher – Jackson, Tenn.
Jenna Rich (Stanford) – Senior – Infield – El Segundo, Calif.
Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) – Senior – Pitcher – San Jose, Calif.
Shellie Robinson (USC Upstate) – Sophomore – Outfield – DeLand, Fla.
Hannah Rogers (Florida) – Junior – Pitcher – Lake Wales, Fla.
Madison Shipman (Tennessee) – Junior – Infield – Valencia, Calif.
Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) – Senior – Catcher – Valencia, Calif.
Tess Sito (Georgia) – Senior – Pitcher/Utility – Elyria, Ohio
Chelsea Thomas (Missouri) – Senior – Pitcher – Pleasantville, Iowa
Jackie Traina (Alabama) – Junior – Pitcher/Designated player – Naples, Fla.
Kirsten Verdun (DePaul) – Junior – Pitcher/First Base – Coal City, Ill.
Haylie Wagner (Michigan) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Orange, Calif.
Devon Wallace (Arkansas) – Sophomore – Utility – Double Oak, Texas
Hallie Wilson (Arizona) – Sophomore – Outfield – Santa Ana, Calif.
Hanna Winter (Stanford) – Sophomore – Infield – Camarillo, Calif.
In addition to bestowing the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, ASA/USA Softball is now in its 11th season of presenting the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll and the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week, which are announced Tuesdays during the regular season. The pre-season ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll was released Jan. 29 with Alabama, Oklahoma, California, Arizona State and Tennessee taking the Top 5 spots. The final poll of the 2013 season will be released on June 11 following the WCWS.