OKLAHOMA CITY – With the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball season in full swing, USA Softball has announced the list of Top 25 Finalists for the 2022 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Considered the most distinguished individual honor in Division I college softball, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female collegiate softball players from across the country.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will honor its 20thathlete at the conclusion of the 2022 NCAA Division I Softball season, with previous recipients including Stacey Nuveman (UCLA - 2022), Cat Osterman (2003, 2005, 2006 - Texas), Jessica Van der Linden (Florida State - 2004), Monica Abbott (2007 - Tennessee), Angela Tincher (2008 - Virginia Tech), Danielle Lawrie (2009, 2010 - Washington), Ashley Hansen (Stanford – 2011), Keilani Ricketts (2012, 2013 – Oklahoma), Lacey Waldrop (2014 – Florida State), Lauren Haeger (2015 – Florida), Sierra Romero (2016 – Michigan), Kelly Barnhill (2017 – Florida), Rachel Garcia (2018, 2019 – UCLA) and Jocelyn Alo (2021 – Oklahoma). Due to the shortened 2020 season because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, a 2020 recipient was not chosen.
Included in the 2022 Top 25 Finalists are five fifth-year/graduate students, nine seniors, five juniors, four sophomores and two freshman consisting of 10 pitchers and 15 position players. The Top 25 Finalists represent 20 NCAA Division I universities and six athletic conferences with six member-schools from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) with five, the Pac-12 with three and the Big 12, American Athletic Conference (AAC) and Big Ten each with two schools apiece. The University of Oklahoma leads the way with four athletes represented while UCLA and Arizona State are each highlighted by two athletes followed by Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Washington, Wichita State and Wisconsin each represented by one athlete.
The Top 25 Finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be narrowed to 10 Finalists – released May 4 – before the Top 3 Finalists are revealed May 18. The 2022 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be announced prior to the NCAA Women’s College World Series, which is slated for June 2-10 at the Softball Capital of the World®.
Along with recognizing the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, USA Softball also enters its 20thseason of presenting the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll which is released on Tuesdays during the regular season. Follow along with Division I NCAA Softball all season long at USASoftball.com.