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Eleven finalists announced for Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Award

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Eleven finalists have been selected for the 2017 Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award, announced the Association on Thursday afternoon. The award will be presented to the winner prior to the 2017 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The finalists hail from 11 different universities and seven conferences. The Pac-12 conference leads the way with five selections. The Atlantic-10, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten, Big Sky, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) make up the rest of the field.

Bethune-Cookman’s Ryan Jackson was named the MEAC’s Player and Freshman of the Year, while Tennessee’s Caylan Arnold (SEC), North Carolina’s Brittany Pickett (ACC), Weber State’s Takesha Saltern (Big Sky), George Washington’s Jenna Cone (A-10) and Minnesota’s Kendyl Lindaman (Big Ten) earned their respective league’s freshman of the year accolades. The Pac-12 will reveal their end-of-the-season awards next week.

Jackson, Saltern and Cone are their program’s first-ever honorees.

The top three finalists will be voted and released on Wed., May 24. The Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 30 at the WCWS banquet.

Created in 2014, the award honors outstanding athletic achievement among Division I freshmen softball student-athletes. In the inaugural year, Auburn’s Kasey Cooper and Tennessee’s Annie Aldrete, were co-winners. Oklahoma’s Paige Parker took home the honor in 2015 and Florida’s Amanda Lorenz captured the award in 2016.

 NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year Finalists

Caylan Arnold – Pitcher – Tennessee

Maggie Balint – Pitcher – Oregon

Alyssa Barrera – Outfield – Utah

Sis Bates – Second Base – Washington

Jenna Cone – Third Base – George Washington

Rachel Garcia – Pitcher/DP – UCLA

Jessie Harper – First Base – Arizona

Ryan Jackson – Outfield – Bethune-Cookman

Kendyl Lindaman – Catcher – Minnesota

Brittany Pickett – Pitcher/First Base – North Carolina

Takesha Saltern – Outfield – Weber State