LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Eight finalists have been selected for the 2016 Schutt Sports / NFCA Division II National Freshman of the Year. There is one finalist from each of the eight regions and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 16.
This year’s eight- Bloomsburg’s (East) Taylor Winkelman, Minnesota State’s (Central) McKenzie Paap, LIU Post’s (East) Hannah Olshevski, Truman State’s (Midwest) Christa Reisinger, Delta State’s (South) Morgan Kazerooni, Colorado Christian’s (South Central) Charlotte Romero, Georgia Southwestern’s (Southeast) Hayley Tierce and UC San Diego’s (West) Maddy Lewis- include seven league freshmen of the year and one pitcher of the year.
A first-team NFCA All-Region selection, Winkelman led the Huskies in batting at .409, while being tops in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference with 19 doubles and 76 hits. The PSAC Freshman of the Year was second in the league with 48 runs and played a key role in Bloomsburg winning a PSAC Conference Tournament title.
Paap, the Northern Sun Freshman of the Year, paced her squad with a .433 average, 88 hits, 48 runs and four triples. The NFCA All-Region first-team selection also led the Mavericks with a .553 slugging percentage and .458 on-base percentage.
Olshevski, the East Coast Conference (ECC) Pitcher of the Year and second-team NFCA all-region, posted a 21-7 mark, 1.80 ERA five shutouts and a .223 opponent’s batting average against helping the Pioneers (37-15-1) to a No. 2 seed in the East Region and a runner-up finish at the ECC Conference Tournament.
Batting .402 with six doubles, four triples, nine home runs and 21 RBI, Reisinger was tabbed Great Lakes Valley Conference Freshman of the Year and first-team NFCA All-Region. The rookie outfielder led the GLVC with 42 stolen bases and is second with 47 runs scored.
Kazerooni led all Gulf South Conference freshmen in batting average (.366), doubles (16), RBI (49) and slugging percentage (.591), while ranking second in home runs (7). The GSC Freshman of the Year registered 60 hits, scored 30 runs and recorded a .451 on-base percentage.
A first-team All-Central region selection, Romero finished her rookie campaign leading the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference by batting .479 and recording 80 hits, while ranking third with 16 doubles. The RMAC Freshman of the Year also knocked in 39 runs, scored 40 and recorded a team-best .524 on-base percentage.
Tierce was named the Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, earned second-team all-conference and was named NFCA First-Team All-Southeast Region. In her first year of collegiate softball, Tierce hit .392 with 58 hits, 35 runs, 12 doubles, 16 home runs and 51 RBI. Her 16 long balls broke GSW’s NCAA era single-season record.
Lewis, an infielder, hits .356 with 48 hits, 24 runs, 33 RB and 16 stolen bases. A second-team NFCA All-Region selection and CCAA Freshman of the Year, Lewis tallied 11 doubles, a team-best four triples and a team-high 21 free passes.
Behind the collaboration between the NFCA and its Division II Head Coaches Committee, the award was created in 2015 to honor the outstanding athletic achievement among freshmen softball student-athletes throughout Division II. This year’s winner will join inaugural Schutt Sports / NFCA DII National Freshman of the Year, Janessa Bassett of Dixie State.
About the NFCA
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) is the professional growth organization for fastpitch softball coaches for all competitive levels of play. Founded in the early 1980s by collegiate softball coaches, today the organization also includes high school coaches, travel ball/club coaches and individuals who support the sport. Founded by coaches for coaches, the Association is built on strong values and continually instills within its members a deep sense of responsibility for developing programs that enrich the lives of all those involved.
In addition, the Association provides educational training; encourages sportsmanship and high standards of competition; promotes the sport both nationally and internationally; identifies and pursues issues relevant to the fastpitch coaching profession and provides a forum to discuss those issues; honors excellence through awards programs for coaches and players, and keeps members informed of current coaching techniques, equipment innovations and fastpitch news.
NFCA Division II National Freshman of the Year –Finalists
Taylor Winkelman – Bloomsburg – Utility
McKenzie Paap – Minnesota State – Outfield
Hannah Olshevski – LIU Post – Pitcher
Christa Reisinger – Truman State – Outfield
Morgan Kazerooni – Delta State – First Base
Charlotte Romero – Colorado Christian – Second Base
Hayley Tierce – Georgia Southwestern – Third Base
Maddy Lewis – UC San Diego – Third Base