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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Nelson wins CLASS award but loses out on Player of the Year

Senior pitcher Stacey Nelson received one of college softball's most prestigious awards Tuesday but fell short of earning another.

Nelson took home the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award at the Party in the Park in Oklahoma City, the opening event for the Women's College World Series. The CLASS Award stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School and focuses not only on the player's athletic accomplishments, but her work in the classroom and community as well.

No other UF athlete had ever won the award in any sport.

"Just to be considered was an honor, and to come out on top is something I never dreamed of," Nelson said.

However, Nelson did not win the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award, which went to Washington junior pitcher Danielle Lawrie.

Lawrie, whose Huskies also reached the WCWS, shut out the Gators in a nine-inning, 1-0 win on Feb. 20, handing Nelson, a top-three finalist for the award, and UF one of their three losses on the year.

Nelson also added another accomplishment to her already lengthy list, as she was named ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-American of the Year on Wednesday.

Senior catcher Kristina Hilberth joined Nelson on the Academic All-American first team, while first baseman Ali Gardiner and pitcher Stephanie Brombacher received third-team honors.

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