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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top 26 Finalists Announced for Freshman of the Year

The twenty-six finalists for the second-annual National Freshman of the Year award have been announced.

2016 will be the third year the award is handed out; past winners include Kasey Cooper and Annie Aldrete (2014 co-winners) and Paige Parker a season ago.

The NFCA is the co-sponsor and presenter of the award.
The group of finalists represents twenty-three different schools and thirteen conferences. Florida, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma were the only teams to place two players on the list.

The SEC is represented by nine finalists, while the Big 12 has four and the ACC, three. The Big Ten and PAC 12, along with the Big East; Big South; Big West; Northeast; MAAC; Atlantic 10; and WAC, each placed a single player on the list.

Four finalists are "younger sisters", all with an older sister currently playing collegiately, as well. Oklahoma's Sydney Romero is the sister of Michigan's Sierra, while her fellow Sooner Shay Knighten is the younger sister of Nebraska's MJ Knighten. Notre Dame's Ali Wester is the sister of 2014 award finalist Karley Wester, also her Fighting Irish teammate, and Marist's Claire Oberdorf suits up alongside her own sister Jayne for the Red Foxes.

Five clubs are represented on both the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year lists of finalists: Florida; Florida State; Oklahoma; Auburn; and Notre Dame.

The twenty-six finalists will be cut down to the final ten on May 12th, with the top three being announced on May 25th. The winner will be announced in Oklahoma City on May 31st.

The full list of finalists can be found below:
 Kelly Barnhill
Pitcher 
Florida 
 Ashley Diaz
First Base 
Arkansas 
 Ebonee Echols
Utility 
Michigan State 
 Taty Forbes
Outfield 
Coastal Carolina 
 Sydney Golden
Pitcher 
Cal State Fullerton 
 Carsyn Gordon
Utility 
Florida State 
 Megan Hensley
Utility 
Louisville 
 Jessica Hughes
Second Base 
Fordham 
 Kelsey Horton
First Base 
New Mexico State 
 Brianna Jones
Pitcher 
Southern Illinois 
 Shay Knighten
Infield 
Oklahoma 
 Amanda Lorenz
Outfield 
Florida 
 Hailey Lunderman
Shortstop 
Ole Miss 
 Taylor Lynch
Third Base 
Oklahoma State 
 Maggie MacBeth
Second Base 
Butler 
 Makayla Martin
Pitcher 
Auburn 
 Keeli Milligan
Outfield 
Texas A&M 
 Meehra Nelson
Pitcher 
Oregon State 
 Hayley Norton
Outfield 
Saint Francis 
 Claire Oberdorf
Utility 
Marist 
 Sydney Romero
Infield 
Oklahoma 
 Samantha Show
Pitcher 
Texas A&M 
 Sydney Smith
Pitcher 
LSU 
 Brooke Vines
Outfield 
Tennessee 
 Kyla Walker
Utility 
Baylor 
 Ali Wester
Utiltiy 
Notre Dame 

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