Abbey Cheek of the University of Kentucky, Caleigh Clifton from the University of Oklahoma, Amber Fiser of the University of Minnesota and UCLA’s Rachel Garcia are the four finalists for the Class of 2019 Honda Sport Award for Softball as announced today by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA).
The Honda Sport Award has been presented annually by the CWSA for the past 43 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 2019 Honda Cup which will be presented on a live telecast on CBS Sports Network on Monday, June 24, 2019, 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.
Cheek, a senior utility player from Inman, S.C., was the first-ever SEC Player of the Year from the University of Kentucky. She is also a NFCA First-Team All-American and First-Team All-SEC. One of the most prolific hitters in school history, she broke the program career record for home runs beating the record by 13 and also broke the career RBI record, surpassing it by 40. She also scored the most runs in program history with 163 in her career, 11 more than the previous record.
Clifton, a senior infielder from Wayne, Okla., was the 2019 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous NFCA First-Team All-American. A three-time First-Team All Region honoree, she led team to Women’s College World Series (WCWS) championship series and overall top-seed in the WCWS. Entering the WCWS championship series, she ranked third nationally in slugging percentage, fourth in runs per game (1.2) and sixth in on-base percentage.
Fiser, a junior pitcher from Van Horne, Iowa, is the 2019 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and an NFCA First-Team All-American. She led her program to its first-ever WCWS. She finished season 31-9 with a 1.27 ERA and 346 strikeouts and ranked third in the NCAA in wins, fifth in strikeouts and 12th in ERA Her 31 wins on the season is tied for second all-time in program history and she set a school record after being named a six-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on the season.
Garcia, a junior pitcher from Palmdale, Calif., is a two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and was the 2018 Honda Award winner for Softball. Also named the 2019 Softball America Player of the Year, she is a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year and 2019 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year as the first-ever player named both in a season. She has twice been named a NFCA first-team All-American. Entering the WCWS championship series, she leads the Bruins with a 1.01 ERA.
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 2019 Honda Cup award presented in June.
The CWSA, celebrating its 43rd 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.
Honda seeks to be a company that society wants to exist, creating products and technologies that improve the lives of people while minimizing the environmental impacts of its products and business operations to ensure a sustainable future.
Honda also is committed to making positive contributions to the communities where it does business, conducting socially responsible business practices and promoting diversity in its workforce. From Honda’s involvement in STEM education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to its support of pediatric brain tumor research and volunteer efforts by Honda associates, including environmental clean-up activities, Honda believes in giving back to the communities where its associates live and work.
Learn more at http://csr.honda.com/