OKLAHOMA CITY -- Tennessee's Raven Chavanne, Lauren Gibson and Ellen Renfroe have been named as Top 25 Finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as announced by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and USA Softball on Wednesday. It is the first time since 2006 that Tennessee has had three Top 25 Finalists.
The 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be announced at the opening of the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City. The award is considered the most prestigious honor for a Division I women's collegiate softball player, recognizing outstanding athletic achievement. The award is in its 12th year and past winners include UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005, 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009, 2010), Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011) and Oklahoma pitcher Keilani Ricketts (2012).
This year's Top 25 is comprised of 11 seniors, eight juniors, four sophomores and two freshman. The student-athletes selected represent 17 NCAA Division I universities and five athletic conferences. Alabama leads the way among universities with four athlete representatives, followed by Oklahoma and Tennessee with three apiece, Texas with two and Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, South Florida and Washington each have one member among the Top 25 Finalists.
Chavanne was a Top 10 finalist in both 2011 and 2012 and has been now been a Top 25 Finalist in each of her four seasons at UT. Ellen Renfroe was a Top 25 Finalist in 2012. Three players in the Top 25 tied for the most in Tennessee history in one year. The last time UT had three players in the Top 25 was in 2006 when Monica Abbott, Kristi Durant and Sarah Fekete were named finalists.
Chavanne, who is also a Senior CLASS Award softball finalist, is enjoying an outstanding senior year. Her .461 batting average leads the team and currently ranks second in the SEC and 11th in the nation. Her 59 hits rank second and her 27 stolen bases rank fourth in the conference, respectively. Chavanne was named USA Softball Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week for the week of March 18-24. Her .447 career batting average, .513 career on-base mark and 129 career stolen bases rank first in the Tennessee record books and she ranks second in school history in runs (219) and hits (323).
Gibson is having a great senior campaign, batting .426 with nine homers, seven doubles one triple, 35 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Her .426 batting average is tied for fourth in the SEC and her .551 on-base percentage ranks second in the conference. Gibson's .739 slugging percentage also leads the team. Gibson was named Co-SEC Player of the Week for the week of March 11-17. She currently ranks among UT's all-time best in a bevy of career offensive categories, including home runs (36, third), RBIs (183, fifth), walks (119, third), total bases (376, seventh), slugging percentage (.614, fourth) and on-base percentage (.480, third).
Ellen Renfroe, who was recently named SEC Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 1-7, is having a great junior year in the circle, ranking second in the SEC with a 1.49 ERA. She is 11-1 in 21 appearances and 17 starts with seven complete games, four shutouts and one save. Renfroe has tallied 122 strikeouts in 108.0 innings of work and her .178 opposing batting average ranks third in the SEC. She ranks among UT's all-time best in many categories, including career ERA (1.39, second), wins (64, fifth), shutouts (26, tied for second) and strikeouts (661, fourth).
Just prior to the start of post-season play, on May 8 the list will be narrowed to the Top 10 Finalists. The Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 22, while the winner of the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be revealed on May 28 prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS in Oklahoma City.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions as well as members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.