Arizona State's Kaitlin Cochran a Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year

May 23, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced today the three finalists for the sixth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, in its sixth year, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by NCAA Division I collegiate softball players across the country.

An initial 'Watch List' was released on January 30 and the list of 25 finalists was announced on April 4. The field of finalists was trimmed to 11 on May 9 just prior to the start of post-season competition.

For the third consecutive year, the three finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year come from different Conferences including the Southeastern Conference, Pac-10 and Big 12. These three individuals have already garnered top awards in their respective Conferences and have led their teams into the NCAA Super Regionals.

The three finalists for the 2007 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, listed in alphabetical order, are:

Monica Abbott (Tennessee) - Senior - Pitcher - Salinas, Calif.
Kaitlin Cochran (Arizona State) - Sophomore - Outfielder - Yorba Linda, Calif.
Samantha Ricketts (Oklahoma) - Sophomore - First Base - San Jose, Calif.

Kaitlin Cochran's sophomore season at Arizona State is proving to be even better than her freshman season just a year ago which saw her named as an NFCA First-Team All-American. For the second time in her career, this Yorba Linda, Calif., native claimed the Pac-10 Batting Title, wrapping up the 2007 regular season with a .506 batting average, 88 hits, 18 home runs and 57 RBI for a slugging percentage of .931 and an on-base-percentage of .621. She also leads the Sun Devils in stolen bases this season with 27 and has a nearly flawless fielding percentage of .978.

'To have Kaitlin named to the top three finalists for USA Softball National Player of the Year is a huge honor, not only for her, but for her team as well,' Sun Devil Head Coach Clint Myers said. 'She has had a phenomenal season and has worked for every acclaim, award and record she has received or set this year. Kaitlin is an athlete any coach would dream of having on their team. She works and demands more of herself than any coach or teammate could demand. She's been selfless in her play this year, putting the team first and herself last, where at the end of the day what matters is the team and the win, not the stats she posted.

She is an amazing athlete and person and no matter what she decides to do in life, she will succeed, whether it be in playing, coaching or teaching. I'm more than proud to have her as a member of this amazing Arizona State team and she has deserved this honor, not only for her actions on the field, but off.'

Cochran's record breaking season consists of taking over as the new ASU single-season hits leader with 88 breaking former All-American Ann Rowan's 17-year record of 86 set during the 1990 season. She also toppled herself in the ASU record book surpassing her single-season home run record of 17 with her current total of 18, which combined puts her fourth in career home runs at ASU as a sophomore.

'I don't honestly know what to say about this, it's never something I expected,' said a surprised Kaitlin Cochran. 'It was flattering to be put on the pre-season list for the award, and to make the top-25 and even the top-10 list. Never did I imagine I would be in the three finalists for the USA Softball National Player of the Year award. It's not something I would ever expect with so many other amazing softball players in the nation. It's an amazing feeling to have someone think so highly of you, after the hours and the effort put in. Like I said every player in the nation puts in that time and work, but in receiving it I know that I'm not the only one being honored. My teammates, coaches, family and supporters also deserve this, and I cannot thank them enough for helping me become the athlete I am today.'

She has already been selected as the Pac-10 Player of the Year, her second Pac-10 Award after winning Freshman of the Year in 2006. She was also selected First-Team All-Region which qualifies her to be named as a First-Team All-American.

The winner of the 2007 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced Tuesday, May 29 during the opening ceremonies of the 2007 NCAA Women's College World Series.

A replica of the award will be placed in a permanent display in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, along with photos of the winner. An additional replica of the award will be presented to the player's academic institution at a designated event in the fall.Cat Osterman of the University of Texas became the first three-time winner of the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award in 2006 after leading her Longhorns to the Big 12 regular season title and a berth into the NCAA Women's College World Series. Past winners of the award include Stacey Nuveman (UCLA-2002), Osterman (Texas-2003, 2005, 2006) and Jessica Van der Linden (Florida State-2004).

About ASA

The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 84 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com.

About USA Softball

USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men's, Women's, Junior Boys' and Junior Girls' National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women's National Team is one of the only two women's sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive. For more information about USA Softball, please visit www.usasoftball.com

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