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USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List Unveiled

Jan. 27, 2021, 2:37 p.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Thirty-three of the 2020 Top 50 “Watch List” athletes join 17 other student-athletes on the “Watch-List” for the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. Announced today by USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award enters its 19th season and recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female collegiate softball players across the country.

Click here for the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year “Watch List”

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), Oklahoma's Keilani Ricketts (2012 and 2013), Florida State's Lacey Waldrop (2014), Florida’s Lauren Haeger (2015), Michigan’s Sierra Romero (2016), Florida’s Kelly Barnhill (2017) and UCLA’s Rachel Garcia (2018 and 2019). Due to the shortened 2020 season because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, a 2020 recipient was not chosen.

Nineteen student-athletes join the preseason “Watch List” for their fifth year following the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) decision to grant 2020 spring athletes an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19. Also included in the “Watch List” are 11 seniors, 15 juniors and five 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 28 NCAA Division I universities and 13 athletic conferences. UCLA leads the way among universities with six athlete representatives, while Washington and Alabama each have four athletes on the “Watch List”. Represented with three athletes apiece are Arizona, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Texas. The Pac-12 conference is represented by six member-schools followed by five college programs from the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and three schools apiece from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big 12 conference.

The Top 25 Finalists for the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 21. 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 5 and the Top 3 announced May 19. The 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed June 1.

In addition to bestowing the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, USA Softball is now in its 19th season of presenting the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll which is announced Tuesdays during the regular season. The preseason ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll was released Jan. 26 with UCLA, Washington, Arizona, Oklahoma and LSU taking the Top 5 spots respectively.

Follow along with NCAA Softball all season long at USASoftball.com.