Rachel Garcia, a rs-sophomore pitcher from UCLA, was named the Honda Sport Award winner for Softball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 42 years to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Garcia becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2018 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 25, 2018, in downtown Los Angeles.
Garcia was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Kelly Barnhill (Florida), Amanda Lorenz (Florida) and Paige Parker (Oklahoma).
“I am so grateful to receive the Honda Award for softball,” Garcia said. “It is extremely humbling and a great honor to be named in the same sentence with softball Bruin greats who have won this award, including Lisa Fernandez and Natasha Watley, who I have looked up to throughout my softball career. Our team was so special, and we had a great run this season. Anything that I have accomplished I did for my teammates who were with me the entire way. I want to thank my coaching staff for believing in me and allowing me to do what I needed to do. I want to thank my family for their continued support day in and day out. It is so special to be a Bruin and I am pleased that I can represent UCLA as a student-athlete.”
Garcia is a rs-sophomore pitcher from Palmdale, Calif., and was named the USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Player of the Year as well as the ESPNW National Player of the Year. She is a NFCA first-team All-American and was also named the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
She led the Bruins' pitching staff with a 1.31 earned run average, a 29-4 record and 315 strikeouts in 208 innings, while adding a .339 batting average. She ranked fourth in the nation in strikeouts.
A two-time NFCA and USA Softball Pitcher of the week, she limited opponents to a .143 batting average. She is a member of the 2018 USA Softball National Team World Championship roster.
“What an honor for Rachel to be named the 2018 Honda Sport Award winner for Softball,” head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “Rachel is a fierce competitor who plays with passion and fire and loves to compete on the big stage. She plays for her team and they play BIG behind her. Rachel represents UCLA Softball with class and we are proud.”
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year.
The CWSA, in its 42nd year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes 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 $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.