Coley Ries, a senior pitcher from Minnesota State University, Mankato, was named the DII Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for Softball as announced by Executive Director Chris Voelz of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented by Honda.
Ries is now designated one of 11 finalists for the prestigious DII Honda Woman Athlete of the Year. This will be voted on at the end of the academic year by national balloting among 1,000 NCAA member schools as part of THE CWSA program, now in its 41st year.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized for an award as prestigious as this,” Ries said. “My experience as a Division II student-athlete at Minnesota State has been the best years of my life. The things we were able to accomplish as a team and a university are a direct correlation to my being recognized for personal awards such as this.”
“No moment was as special as hugging my teammates as the 2017 national champions. My coaches and teammates have all made such an important impact on me and have shaped me into the person I am today. I will forever be grateful to the NCAA, Division II and Minnesota State for giving me the opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.”
Ries was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Player of the Year and a first-team NFCA All-American before leading her team to its first NCAA Championship title in program history. She is a three-time NSIC Pitcher of the Year and earned D2CCA Pitcher of the Year honors this season while most recently being named the 2017 Division II Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Off the field, the senior pitcher from Eagle Lake, Minn., was named a 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-American first-team honoree and boasts a 3.70 GPA as a mass media major.
Ries led Division II in wins (41), shutouts (17) and strikeouts (476) while boasting a 1.05 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .148 batting average. Her 41 wins set a program record for a season and she is MSU’s all-time leader in wins (119) and strikeouts (1,481).
“I believe that Coley is very deserving to be nominated for this award,” head coach Lori Meyer said. “Coley exemplifies the true meaning of a student-athlete at the Division II level, both excelling on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”
“She’s a natural leader and was the heart and soul of our team throughout her career at Minnesota State. In the circle, she is a fierce competitor who continued to excel through her career, that culminated in an NCAA National Championship in 2017. She’s is one of that top student-athletes I’ve ever had the privilege to coach during my 33 seasons at Minnesota State and her legacy has lifted our program to the highest it has ever been.”
All Honda Sports nominees from DII and DIII become a finalist for the prestigious 2017 Honda Woman Athlete of the Year in their respective divisions, presented in a live telecast on CBS Sports on June 26, 2017, in downtown Los Angeles. The Honda Sports nominees are recognized in 11 DII and DIII NCAA-sanctioned sports; cross country, basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball, and track & field.
THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation’s top NCAA women athletes for 41 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 $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.