LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association is proud to announce the initial finalists for the Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, which will be presented prior to the start of the 2016 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
This year’s finalists hail from 22 different universities, while the group represents 12 Division I conferences from across the nation. Arizona out of the Pac-12 leads the way with three selections, while Big Ten representative Minnesota has two honorees.
The Pac-12 topped the charts with seven selections from six different programs. The Big 12, Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference each had three representatives, the Ohio Valley Conference, Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast Conference, Atlantic Sun, Big South Conference, Big Sky, Colonial Athletic Association and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), garnered one apiece. The Big Sky and MEAC are represented for the first time.
On Thurs., May 11, the list will be trimmed down to the top 10 finalists, while the top three finalists will be selected and released on Wed., May 24. The Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 31.
The award was created in 2014 from an idea to honor outstanding athletic achievement among Division I freshmen softball student-athletes. In the inaugural year, Auburn’s Kasey Cooper and Tennessee’s Annie Aldrete, were co-winners. Oklahoma’s Paige Parker took home the honor in 2015 and Florida’s Amanda Lorenz captured the award in 2016.