Tony Jones | February 4, 2017
For the third straight year, University of Notre Dame senior captain and two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Karley Wester has been added to the "Watch List" for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, as unveiled by USA Softball on Wednesday.
Entering its 16th season, the 2017 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, presented by the National Governing Body for Softball in the United States, recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female collegiate softball players across the country.
Notre Dame has now seen at least one player selected to the top 50 preseason watch list for the national player of the year award in each of the last six seasons. NFCA All-Americans Dani Miller (2012) and Amy Buntin (2013), three-time NFCA All-American Emilee Koerner (2014 and 2015), and four-time NFCA all-region choice Laura Winter (2014) joined Wester (2015 and 2016) in previously earning the distinction.
Two different Notre Dame players have been tabbed as finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year since 2013. As a sophomore that season Koerner became Notre Dame's first top 10 selection for the award in program history, while Wester finished as a top 26 player of the year finalist in 2015 and a top 10 award finalist in 2016.
A native of Huntington Beach, California, Wester returns to the Notre Dame captaincy role in 2017 after serving as a junior co-captain last season. She has batted a program best .443 with 256 hits, 93 RBI, 98 stolen bases (Notre Dame record) and 183 runs scored in her first 167 games (166 starts). The active hits leader in the NCAA, Wester paced the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in batting average in each of her first three seasons. She batted .446 while adding Notre Dame single-season records for hits (91), runs scored (68) and stolen bases (46) in 2016.