OKLAHOMA CITY — Fifty student-athletes from across the country have been selected for the “Watch List” for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. Now in its 13th 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 Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts (2012 and 2013).
The pre-season “Watch List” includes 24 seniors, 20 juniors and six 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 36 NCAA Division I universities and 12 athletic conferences. Alabama, Arizona State and Oregon lead the way among universities with three athlete representatives each, and the Southeastern (SEC) Conference has the most member schools represented with seven.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 9. 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 7 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 21. On May 27 prior to the start of the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.
In addition to bestowing the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, ASA/USA Softball is now in its 12th 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. 28 with Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan and Washington taking the Top 5 spots respectively.