There are many distinctions an athlete or coach can receive during their time as a Wildcat. Among these is being recognized at the Oregon Sports Awards. This year, there were five individuals nominated for awards, as well as the Linfield softball team. The ceremony was held Feb. 12 in Beaverton, Ore., at the Nike World Headquarter Campus.
Linfield was well represented at the OSA. Up for individual awards were seniors Drew Fisher, Staci Doucette, Emily Lepp and junior Tim Wilson. Softball coach Jackson Vaughan was named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association coaching staff of the year. The Linfield softball team was nominated and was awarded the Pasero Award.
The softball team broke both the Northwest Conference record for games won in a season, winning 51 contests in 2011. They also beat the team home run record with 103 home runs. Another high point the team reached this season was being ranked in the top-20 in the country for their grade point average of 3.4.
Accepting the award for the team were Kayla Hurich and Claire Velaski, class of ’11. This is the second time the softball team has received the Pasero Award.
The Linfield football team has also received this award, receiving it five times in the last 30 years.
Vaughan was nominated for the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year Award, which honors Oregon’s top coach or athletics administrator.
“The other finalists were Chip Kelly, Nigel Burton, Merritt Paulson and Steve Coury. The winner ended up being Merritt Paulson— the Owner of the Portland Timbers,” Vaughan said in an email. “I was very honored to be nominated for the award and to represent Linfield and the other small colleges in Oregon against some of the biggest names in Oregon sports.”
Many athletes gathered for the distribution of awards. Throughout the night, 26 awards in 19 categories were given out. Both Fisher and Wilson were nominated for the men’s Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year award, but were beat out by Concordia University’s Bryant Sentman.
Meanwhile, Doucette and Lepp were nominated for the women’s Ad Rutschman Award, which was given to Oregon Tech University’s Jackie Imhof.
Lepp was honored by the experience of being nominated for an award and being a part of such a strong athletic program.
“It has made my college experience very fulfilling,” Lepp said. “My teammates mean the world to me and I don’t know what I would do or where I would be without them. They are my closest friends, and they have made my college experience one that I will look back on and remember all these great memories that I’ve had with them.”
Kaylyn Peterson/Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.