Jan. 29, 2014
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech softball’s Ashley Thomas was one of the 50 student-athletes selected to the initial watch list for the 13th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award presented by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States.
“This is a huge honor and great accomplishment for Ashley,” head coach Shelly Hoerner. “It’s a true testament to her commitment of becoming one of the top softball players in the country. I am proud of her continued hard work to become a success for herself, our Georgia Tech softball program and institution.”
Thomas, a senior shortstop from McKinney, Texas, excelled in her junior season. A 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Southeast Region second team honoree, Thomas was named the 2013 ACC Player of the Year after leading Georgia Tech and the ACC in batting average (.417), hits (75) and stolen bases (37).
Her batting average last season is the fifth-best all-time at Tech in a single season and her average never fell below .460 in conference play. Her 37 stolen bases combined with her career total boosted her to fifth on the Georgia Tech career charts in the category (91).
This award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Past winners of this award include 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), Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011) and Oklahoma’s Keilani Ricketts (2012 and 2013).
The pre-season “Watch List” includes 24 seniors, 20 juniors and six sophomores, with freshman ineligible for consideration. (Freshman can be considered for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award once they have competed at the collegiate level.) Athletes named to the “Watch List” represent 36 NCAA Division I universities and 12 athletic conferences. Alabama, Arizona State and Oregon lead the way among universities with three athlete representatives each, and the Southeastern (SEC) Conference has the most member schools represented with seven.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 9. While an athlete does not have to be on the “Watch List” to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists. The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 7 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 21. On May 27 prior to the start of the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.