LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bethune-Cookman Softball’s Ryan Jackson has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award as announced by the NFCA headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. The award will be presented prior to the start of the 2017 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
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 and Minnesota’s Kendyl Lindaman were named the MEAC’s and Big Ten’s Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively, while Tennessee’s Caylan Arnold (SEC), North Carolina’s Brittany Pickett (ACC), Weber State’s Takesha Saltern (Big Sky) and George Washington’s Jenna Cone (A-10) 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.
As for Jackson, she helped lead the Wildcats to their fourth consecutive MEAC title game appearance over the weekend, and earned the league’s Rookie and Player of the Year award following the conclusion of the 2017 regular season. A 5-foot-6 freshman from Chino Hills, California, she lead the MEAC in batting average (.409) slugging percentage (.766), on base percentage (.484), runs batted in (44) and total bases (105) throughout the regular season. She currently ranked 31st in the nation in home runs with 14, and first in the conference. A three-time MEAC Player of the Week and two-time Rookie of the Week, Jackson played and started in 53 games for the Wildcats and finished the regular season with 56 hits, including eight doubles and one triple, while scoring 35 runs and stealing 15 bases. Defensively, she has recorded a .952 fielding percentage with 58 putouts in the outfield.
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.