Softball's Kristen Rivera Is A First Round Pick In The NPF Draft

Feb. 8, 2005

DENVER-- Washington senior Kristen Rivera has been drafted by the Texas Thunder in the first round of the 2005 Senior College Player Selections. Rivera was one of 21 athletes selected by six National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) teams over four rounds. Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete may not sign with her respective franchise until their 2005 college season is finished. Senior selection rights expire July 15, 2005.

The NPF consists of six team including the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, NY/NJ Juggernaut and Texas Thunder. The California Sunbirds will remain a part of the league but is suspending play for 2005 while working this year to restructure with plans to field a team again in 2006 along with additional teams in other potential markets.

Rivera, a catcher and designated player for the Huskies, is a three-time All-American. She is a two-time NFCA Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year award recipient and has been a top-10 finalist for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year each of the last two seasons. Rivera was the 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year and ranks second all-time on the Husky career charts with 60 home runs, a .786 slugging percentage and a .502 on-base percentage.

'It's a real honor to have been chosen in the first round of the NPF,' said Rivera. 'The Texas Thunder is a great team with a lot of talented players. I intend to finish out my senior year with the Huskies and weigh my options at the end of the season'

Last year, the Texas Thunder won the inaugural NPF regular season with a 41-17 record. Seven of its players were named to the NPF West All-Star team and the coaching staff received the NPF Coaching Staff of the Year Award. Local Houstonian and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Christa Williams won the 'NPF Pitcher of the Year Award' and Lindsay Gardner won the 'NPF Defensive Player of the Year Award.'

Other college seniors drafted by the Texas Thunder today in order included pitcher Brooke Mitchell (Louisiana-Lafayette), shortstop Adrian Gregory (Texas A&M), and catcher Nicole Robinson (Texas A&M)

The 2005 NPF season will run from June 2nd through August 28th and will consist of a 48-game regular season schedule for each team, an all-star game, play-offs and Championship Series. NPF continues to be the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball and has recently developed a new alliance with ASA/USA Softball and the International Softball Federation (ISF). This alliance will help promote international play by inviting teams from China, China Taipei, Japan, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and Venezuela to play against NPF teams. A finalized schedule will be released in March.

The following is a list of college players in order of selection:

1st Round:
Chicago Bandits, Amy Harre, P, Southern Illinois University
Arizona Heat, Jackie Coburn, C/3B, University of Arizona
New England Riptide, Jessica Merchant, SS, University of Michigan
NY/NJ Juggernaut, Heather Scaglione, C, University of Oklahoma
Akron Racers, Jamie Southern, P, Fresno State
Texas Thunder, Kristen Rivera, C, University of Washington

2nd Round:
Chicago Bandits, Megan Ciolli, OF, Notre Dame
Arizona Heat, pass
New England Riptide, Ashley Courtney, OF/C, University of Alabama
NY/NJ Juggernaut, Jessica Sallinger, P, Georgia Tech
Akron Racers, Kami Keiter, P, University of Oklahoma
Texas Thunder, Brooke Mitchell, P, Louisiana-Lafayette

3rd Round:
Chicago Bandits, Christina Enea, 1B, University of Oklahoma
Arizona Heat, pass
New England Riptide, Kim Wendland, IF, University of Georgia
NY/NJ Juggernaut, Kaleo Eldredge, OF, Cal Berkley
Akron Racers, Ani Nyhus, P, University of Oregon
Texas Thunder, Adrian Gregory, SS, Texas A&M

4th Round:
Chicago Bandits, Anne Steffan, IF, University of Nebraska
Arizona Heat, pass
New England Riptide, Stephanie Best, SS, University of Central Florida
NY/NJ Juggernaut, Chelsea Spencer, SS, Cal Berkley
Akron Racers, Oli Keohohou, IF, Long Beach State
Texas Thunder, Nicole Robinson, C, Texas A&M

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