Kelly Barnhill and teammate Amanda Lorenz of the University of Florida, UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and Paige Parker from Oklahoma University are the four nominees for the Class of 2018 Honda Sport Award 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”. The winner of the sport award 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.
The nominees were chosen by a panel of coaches representing the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). The Honda Sport 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.
Barnhill, a junior pitcher from Marietta, Ga., was the Class of 2017 Honda Sport Award winner for Softball last season and has twice been named the SEC Pitcher of the Year. A two-time NFCA first-team All-American, she closed the season second in the nation in strikeouts (324) and leads the nation in hits allowed per seven innings (2.78). She has struck out the side 35 times this year and posted 17 wins and seven shutouts against Top 25 opponents.
Garcia is a RS-sophomore pitcher from Palmdale, Calif., and was named the USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year as well as the ESPNW National Player of the Year. She is an NFCA first-team All-American and was also named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. She leads 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.
Lorenz hails from Moorpark, Calif., and was named the 2018 SEC Player of the Year. The junior outfielder is a two-time first-team NFCA All-American and was a USA Softball Player of the Year Top 4 Finalist. After helping the Gators to their fourth SEC Championship title, she was named the SEC Tournament MVP. She reached base safely in all 67 games played this season is the current all-time leader at UF in batting average (.402) and OBP (.545)
Parker is a two-time NFCA first-team All-American and a four-time All-American overall. A native of Independence, Mo., the senior pitcher has been named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in all four seasons at OU and is a four-time All-Big 12 first-team honoree. She has held opponents to under .200 for four straight seasons and her 0.82 ERA ranks second nationally on the season. She has 123 career wins and leads all active pitchers in total victories.
Honda Sport Award winners will be presented with the honor during on-campus presentations throughout the year and all Honda Sport Award winners become a finalist for the prestigious 2018 Honda Cup award presented in June.
The CWSA, celebrating its 42nd year, has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for their 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.