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OKLAHOMA CITY — Florida’s Aleshia Ocasio and Auburn’s Kasey Cooper, two finalists for the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, join 48 other student-athletes on the “Watch List” for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award.  Announced today by USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, the Player of the Year award enters its 16th season and recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female collegiate softball players across the country. 

Click here for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year “Watch List”Click here for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year “Watch List” 

Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award 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). 

The preseason “Watch List” includes 26 seniors, 18 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 37 NCAA Division I universities and 13 athletic conferences. Arizona, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Oklahoma lead the way with three athlete representatives each, while LSU, Michigan and Oregon have two athletes apiece on the "Watch List".  The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is well-represented among the Top 50 "Watch List" with 12 member-schools, while nine universities from the Pac-12 Conference also highlight the list.

The Top 25 Finalists for the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 12. 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 10 and the Top 3 announced May 24. The 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 30.

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

-- Courtesy of USA Softball

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