April 30, 2004
OKLAHOMA CITY -
Top-ranked Arizona's Autumn Champion, Alicia Hollowell and Caitlin Lowe have been selected among the 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. An initial list of 25 finalists was announced on April 7.
The award recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Champion, a sophomore left fielder, is fourth in the nation with a .465 batting average, with Lowe not far behind at .459. Lowe leads the country in runs per game and is second in base stealing. Hollowell leads the nation in strikeouts per seven innings and is fourth in victories with a 33-1 record.
The 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, listed in alphabetical order, are:
Monica Abbott - Freshman - University of Tennessee Autumn Champion - Sophomore - University of Arizona Christina Clark - Sophomore - Fresno State Alicia Hollowell - Sophomore - University of Arizona Caitlin Lowe - Freshman - University of Arizona Iyhia McMichael - Senior - Mississippi State Brooke Mitchell - Junior - Louisiana Lafayette Kristen Rivera - Junior - University of Washington Jamie Southern - Junior - Fresno State Jessica van der Linden - Senior - Florida State
Three finalists will be announced May 11th, with the winner of the 2004 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award to be announced May 26 at the opening ceremonies of the NCAA College World Series in Oklahoma City. The winner also will be recognized and presented with the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year trophy during the ASA National Council Meeting in Mobile, Ala., in November.
"It's certainly testimony to the program we have that three of our players have been picked among 10 finalists for the award. Each of them has been pivotal to our season, and I sure wouldn't want to pick from among the three," UA coach Larry Ray said. Ray has taken UA to a 46-2 record and seven weeks atop the rankings while acting in place of Mike Candrea, who's serving as head coach of the U.S. Olympic team.
A replica of the USA Softball award will be placed in a permanent display in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, along with photos of the winner. An additional replica of the award will be presented to the player's academic institution.
Arizona has had players win another national honor, the Honda Softball Award, five times. Winners of various Honda Awards are thereby candidates for the Broderick Cup as national amateur female athlete. Pitcher Susie Parra won in 1993, infielder Jenny Dalton won in 1996, pitcher Nancy Evans won in 1998 and pitcher Jennie Finch won it in both 2001 and 2002.