Feb. 14, 2003
Oklahoma City, OK –
Coming off an All-American season as a junior in 2002, Brandi Stuart is finding herself in the spotlight once again. The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced its initial watch list for the 2nd annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award and the Cerritos, CA native found her name on the list and among the best in the game.
“It is always great to hear good news like that but I plan on taking it in stride,” said Stuart. “I don’t want to change anything I am doing and don’t want to change my approach to things. I just wantr to continue to have fun and help this team in any way that I can.”
In the 24-year history of Florida State softball, few players have ever put together a season as impressive as Stuart’s 2002 campaign, which resulted in her selection as a 1st team NFCA and Easton All-American. She is just the fourth FSU player to ever be named a 1st team NFCA All-American and was only the second FSU player ever invited to attend a Team USA National Camp. Stuart was in the top 10 in the nation in steals (3rd), steals per game (5th), runs (7th) and walks (8th) and also finished amongst the nation’s leaders in walks per game (17th), runs per game (26th) and batting average (42nd).
Last year, she established career highs in average (.391), runs (63), triples (7), home runs (10), RBIs (45), slugging percentage (.647), walks (49) and steals (54). Not only was Stuart the Seminoles’ best player in 2002 but a case could be made that she was the team’s most improved player also. Despite the fact that she led the team in seven offensive categories as a sophomore and was second in six others, Stuart still found a way to raise her numbers during her junior year in eight major categories asthe California native hit 42 points higher than her career average, slugged 171 points higher, hit 42 points higher than her career average, slugged 171 points higher, hit 6.5 more home runs, three more triples, scored 20 more runs, had 30.5 more total bases, registered 18 more steals and 26.5 more walks.
The award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women’s collegiate softball and is the only national player of the year award, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. The initial watch list is comprised of 40 players that represent 23 colleges and 11 different collegiate conferences. Stuart is the only member of the ACC on the list.
The first 25 finalist will be announced on April 8th. The list will then be reduced to ten players on April 29th, with three finalists being named on May 13th. The winner of the 2003 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced at the 2003 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. The winner will also be recognized during the ASA National Council Meeting in Orlando, FL, in November.
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.
UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman was selected as the inaugural winner of the award after leading her Bruins to the Pac 10 title and a berth into the Women’s College World Series.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of amateur softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. As the National Governing Body, the ASA is responsible for identifying, selecting and training male and female athletes to compete in World, Pan American and Olympic competitions.