Willard Named Collegiate Player of the Year Finalist

BYU senior outfielder Delaney Willard has been named one of the Top 25 finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today that BYU senior outfielder Delaney Willard has been named one of the Top 25 finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.

A two-time WAC Hitter of the Week this season, Willard has emerged as an All-America candidate who has had one of the best seasons thus far in BYU history. The right fielder is currently ranked in the NCAA top-20 in six different categories, including RBI per game (5th, 1.40), slugging percentage (8th, .920), home runs per game (13th, 0.37), batting average (14th, .440), home runs (14th, 13) and on base percentage (19th, .537).

Willard is also No. 10 all-time at BYU in career home runs, RBI, on base percentage and walks with 17 games left to play, not including the postseason. The Cougars are currently 24-12 overall this season.

This award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country and will be announced at the opening of the 2012 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City. Among the selected 25 student-athletes is Ashley Hansen, the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as well as Katelyn Boyd and Chelsea Thomas, who were the other two finalists for last year’s award.
This year’s Top 25 is comprised of 13 seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores, and one freshman. The student-athletes selected represent 17 NCAA Division I universities and eight athletic conferences. While California and Oklahoma lead the way among universities with three athlete representatives each, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Washington each have two members among the Top 25 Finalists.   
Just before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be announced on May 9. The three finalists will be announced May 23, while the winner of the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be revealed on May 29 prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS in Oklahoma City.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions as well as members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.

Now in its 11th year, previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award are UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010) and Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011).  

2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 25 Finalists
Name (School) – Year – Position – Hometown
Valerie Arioto (California) – Senior – Utility – Pleasanton, Calif.
Lexy Bennett (Texas) – Senior – Infield – Kingwood, Texas
Katelyn Boyd (Arizona State) – Senior – Shortstop – Phoenix, Ariz.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) – Junior – Outfield – Eugene, Ore.
Lauren Chamberlain  (Oklahoma) – Freshman – Infield – Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) – Junior – Third base/Outfield – Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Rachele Fico (LSU) – Junior – Pitcher – Oxford, Conn.
Ashley Hansen (Stanford) – Senior – Infield – Chandler, Ariz.
Jolene Henderson (California) – Junior – Pitcher/First base – Elk Grove, Calif.
Kaitlin Inglesby (Washington) – Sophomore – Pitcher/First Base – Portland, Ore.
Ashley McClain (FIU) – Senior – Outfield/Pitcher – Brandon, Fla.
Michelle Moultrie (Florida) – Senior – Center field – Jacksonville, Fla.
Sara Nevins (South Florida) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Pinellas Park, Fla.
Christi Orgeron (ULL) – Senior – Outfield – New Orleans, La.
Sara Plourde (UMass) – Senior – Pitcher – Bristol, Conn.
Kimi Pohlman (Washington) – Senior – Outfield – Sammamish, Wash.
Jamia Reid (California) – Senior – Outfield – Buena Park, Calif.
Ellen Renfroe (Tennessee) – Sophomore – Pitcher – Jackson, Tenn.
Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) – Junior – Pitcher – San Jose, Calif.
Hannah Rogers (Florida) – Senior – Pitcher – Lake Wales, Fla.
Jordan Rutkowski (Valparaiso) – Senior – Catcher/Outfield – Alden, N.Y.
Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) – Junior – Catcher – Valencia, Calif.
Chelsea Thomas (Missouri) – Redshirt Junior – Pitcher – Pleasantville, Iowa
Jackie Traina (Alabama) – Sophomore – Pitcher/Designated player – Naples, Fla.
Delaney Willard (BYU) – Senior – Outfield – Camarillo, Calif.