Cheridan Hawkins of the University of Oregon, Maddie O'Brien from Florida State University, University of Michigan's Sierra Romero and Madison Shipman from the University of Tennessee are the four nominees for the Honda Sports Award for softball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. The winner of the sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by a group of experts representing the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
The Honda Sports award winner for softball will be announced next week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Hawkins, a sophomore pitcher, was named a NFCA first-team All-American and a top-10 finalist for the USA Softball National Player of the Year honor. The lefty closed the season ranked third nationally in wins with 35 on the season and fourth nationally in strikeouts (330) while leading her squad to the WCWS semifinals. The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and two-time Pac-12 all first-team honoree is also a Capital One Academic All-American.
A shortstop from Palm Harbor, Fla., O'Brien led the nation this season in runs batted in (83) and finished second in the country in slugging percentage (.942). The junior also had 24 home runs, 17 doubles, 62 runs scored and 56 walks. Named a NFCA first-team All-American and the 2014 ACC Player of the Year, she had a streak from April 16-20 of reaching base on 18 consecutive plate appearances over five games against Pitt and Syracuse.
Romero, a sophomore shortstop from Murrieta, Calif., was named a NFCA first-team All-American and earned her second straight Big Ten Player of the Year honor. She was a unanimous All-Big Ten first-team selection and a top-three finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. She led the nation in on-base percentage (.633) and walks per-game (1.08) and ranked second in the country in batting average (.491).
Shipman was recently named the 2014 Senior CLASS Award winner in softball on the heels of being named a first-team NFCA All-American for the second straight season. The 2014 SEC Player of the Year led the league in on-base percentage (.591) and finished the season with a team-high .417 batting average, 18 homers, 16 doubles, 54 RBIs, 56 runs, 46 walks and 13 stolen bases. A senior shortstop from Valencia, Calif., she is is also a two-time Capital One Academic All-America honoree.
The CWSA presents the Honda Sports Award annually to top women student-athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports. Honda Sports award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sports award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup award presented in June.
Last year's Honda Cup winner was Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) representing the sport of softball. Two other student-athletes from the sport of softball have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup, Natasha Watley (UCLA) in 2003 and Lisa Fernandez (UCLA) in 1993.
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 37 years, recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.7 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.