Florida senior pitcher Lauren Haeger was named the Honda Sports Award winner for softball as announced by Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) today.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics”. With this honor, Haeger becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2015 Honda Cup, which will be presented on June 29th in a live nationally televised broadcast on CBS Sports Network at 6 pm PT/9 pm ET from Los Angeles, Calif.
Haeger was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Finalists included Lauren Chamberlain (Oklahoma), Cheridan Hawkins (Oregon) and Sierra Romero (Michigan).
“It was such an honor to hear that I was nominated for the Honda Award, so it was wonderful to find out I was chosen as the winner,” Lauren Haeger said. “Thank you to the Honda Award program for sponsoring this honor which means so much to so many women’s collegiate athletes. I’d also like to thank my Gator teammates and coaches for all their support – it truly has been amazing to be a part of this program.”
Hailing from Peoria, Ariz., Haeger was recently named the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year and earned the win in the 2015 NCAA Championship title game. The senior pitcher is a two-time NFCA first-team All-American and was twice named to the All-SEC first-team. The reigning SEC Player of the Year, she holds the SEC record for career home runs (71) and the school record for career RBIs (259).
Her 1.23 ERA ranked fifth nationally on the year and she joined Babe Ruth as the only players in Division I softball, baseball or Major League Baseball history to reach the 70-70 plateau (career victories and career home runs). Haeger is the third Gator Softball player to be nominated for the Honda award (Stacey Nelson – 2009; Kelsey Bruder – 2011 winner) and is only the third softball player to win the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, the WCWS Most Outstanding Player and the Honda Awards in the same season (also: Keilani Ricketts, Oklahoma – 2013; Danielle Lawrie, Washington – 2009).
“First of all thank you to the Collegiate Women Sports Awards and Honda for this recognition of Lauren Haeger and her tremendous season on the softball field,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said. “This is an outstanding accomplishment for Lauren for her great season and for the unbelievable career she had for the Florida Gators. This is a very prestigious award for both Lauren and all of her teammates who helped her achieve this award.”
Three other student-athletes from the sport of softball have gone on to win the prestigious Honda Cup- Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) in 2013, Natasha Watley (UCLA) in 2003 and Lisa Fernandez (UCLA) in 1993.
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 39 years, 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 $3.0 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.