May 31, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. –
As a freshman, Florida State’s Veronica Wootson took the softball world by storm as she collected Second-Team All-America honors. The pressure to perform may have caused her to have a sophomore campaign that wasn’t up to her expectations, but she bounced back with a tremendous junior year that was validated Wednesday (May 31) as she earned Louisville Slugger/NFCA First-Team All-America honors.
Wootson (Fontana, Calif.) is just the sixth player in FSU history to earn First-Team honors, joining Lisa Davidson (1993), Shamalene Wilson (1996), Danielle Cox (1999), Brandi Stuart (2002) and Jessica van der Linden (2003-04). She joins Jan Sikes (1981-82), Wilson (1994-96), Myssi Calkins (1996-97), Leslie Malerich (2000-01), Stuart (2002-03) and van der Linden (2003-04) as FSU’s seventh multiple winner.
“I’m very honored to be recognized with such great players,” Wootson said. “Since my freshman year when I made Second Team this has been my goal. I try to have fun and do what I can for my teammates and to help us win. Coming off my freshman I may have put too much pressure on myself so this year I tried to go back to when I was a freshman and just relax and have fun.”
The second baseman was just one of three Atlantic Coast Conference players selected as she was joined by Angela Tincher from Virginia Tech (Second Team) and North Carolina’s Crystal Cox (Third Team). Wootson was also one of only two players not from the Pac-10 (seven selections), SEC (five), Big Ten (two) or Big 12 (two) chosen for the First Team.
This year was Wootson best by the far as she posted a career-high .360 average which was the fifth-best in the league. She finished the year as the ACC leader with nine triples, while currently rating second nationally in that category. Overall, she ranked in the conference top ten in nine offensive categories while rating in seven categories during ACC games.
“Veronica was a leader for us at the plate and on the field for us,” FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf said. “This is a great honor for her and our entire program. She really worked hard this year and was more selective at the plate and it paid off. This should be a great springboard for her going into her senior season.”
Even though she has only played three seasons, Wootson is already ranked in the Florida State career top ten in several categories. Going into next year, she rates fourth for home runs (18) and triples (18), sixth in slugging percentage (.494) and ninth for runs scored (138) and RBIs (104). She is on track to break FSU all-time marks in several categories or rank in the top three.
“This award is a team award as much as it is mine,” Wootson noted. “I’ve got some great teammates and when you see them doing well it pushes you to play just as well as they are. When players like Natasha (Jacob) and Yuruby (Alicart) are playing at such a high level I just want to fit in and be at their level.”
The All-America honor is the third award of the season for Wootson. Early in the year she picked up Firs-Team All-ACC and NFCA All-Southeast Region accolades. Florida State advanced to the NCAA Tournament Super Regional, played in the ACC Tournament title game and finished the year with a 44-30 record.