May 30, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. –
With each award she receives, Florida State softball player Veronica Wootson keeps moving herself higher and higher into the Seminole stratosphere. However, her most recent and perhaps final honor puts the second baseman in the pantheon of Florida State softball. Wootson became just the second player in school history to earn a trio of NFCA All-America honors with her Third-Team selection as announced by the coaching association on Wednesday (May 30).
Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) was the first FSU freshman to earn All-America accolades in 2004 with her Second-Team honor and last season she garnered a First-Team award. Prior to Wootson, the only player in school or ACC history to earn three All-America awards was outfielder Shamalene Wilson (1994-96).
“It’s definitely an honor and I’m very thankful that the coaches have recognized my hard work,” Wootson said. “There have been so many great players that built this program so to accomplish something that great players like Brandi Stuart and Jessica van der Linden didn’t is quite a special feeling. It makes me feel that all my hard work has paid off and that I made a difference at Florida State.”
A starter in all 273 games she played in, Wootson stamped her name in the NCAA, ACC and Florida State record books. Her 875 at-bats are a conference record and rank her 13th in NCAA lore while her 199 runs is second in the ACC, 23rd in the nation. In addition, she is 5th for hits (282), seventh for triples (22), eight in stolen bases (78) and nine for home runs (29).
“When I look back on my career I feel that I gave everything I had on the field and because of my hard work I was able to accomplish a lot,” Wootson added. “I had some great coaches and teammates that helped me along the way. I hope that I was able to continue the great tradition that coach Graf has established here and that I’ve instilled something in the younger players to keep that tradition going.”
Within the Florida State charts she ranks in ten different offensive and fielding categories, which trails only two-time All-American Brandi Stuart for the most top ten rankings. Wootson is in the top five of nine of those categories, including a school-record 29 home runs. In addition, she ranks second in triples, runs and doubles (41) while placing third for RBIs (141) and hits (282).
“This really puts the final touches on a tremendous career and is well deserved,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “Veronica is one of the most complete players that I’ve ever coached. She can hit for power, hit for average, drop down a bunt, steal a base and play great defense. She has been one of the cornerstones of our program the last four years and there are going to be some big shoes to fill at second base next year.”
Wootson wrapped up her career by leading Florida State to its eighth-straight NCAA Tournament, the 20th appearance overall, a 44-25 record – the 26th 40-win season – and a school record 13 ACC victories. She was ranked in the ACC Top Ten in eight different categories, including the league leader with four triples, second at 35 stolen bases and seventh with a .344 batting average.
The Seminoles return seven players next year that started 45 or more games, including its three of its top five hitters. For the second year in a row the Seminoles bring back their entire pitching staff that dropped the staff ERA by almost a full run from a year ago. Graf has signed four letters to National Letters Intent, including infielders Kristie McConn and Ashley Stager who will try to carry on FSU’s middle infield legacy.