OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced the finalists for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, which will be announced at the opening of the 2017 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball, recognizes the outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female players across the country.
Now in its 16th year, 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) and Michigan’s Sierra Romero (2016).
Comprising this year’s list of finalists includes 23 seniors, eight juniors, two sophomores and one freshman. The student-athletes selected represent 23 NCAA Division I universities and 11 athletic conferences. Arizona is the most represented university among the finalists, having five athletes making the list while Florida State follows with four athlete representatives. Florida, LSU, Michigan and Oregon each have two players represented. Alabama, Baylor, Cal Poly, Georgia, Idaho State, James Madison, Louisiana, Marshall, Memphis, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Tennessee, UCLA, Utah and Wisconsin each have one member among the finalists.
Prior to the start of post-season play, the list will be narrowed to the Top 10 Finalists on May 10. The Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 24, while the winner of the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be revealed on May 30 prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS in Oklahoma City.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives of 10 Division I Conferences in the 10 USA Softball Regions, members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country as well as past winners of the award.
In addition to bestowing the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, USA Softball is now in its 15th 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. A complete history of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, past Top 25 Polls and Player of the Week honorees are available at Teamusa.org/USA-Softball/
-- Courtesy of USA Softball