Demonstrating resiliency at one of the most mentally challenging positions in all of sports, Linfield College junior Karina Paavola is the female recipient of the Vern Marshall Award, saluting the Linfield College athlete who demonstrates the greatest tenacity.
Paavola, the Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Year and a first team all-West Region honoree, dramatically stepped her game as a competitor this spring, according to her coach, Jackson Vaughan.
“Karina worked hard to add a new pitch to her arsenal and had several outings this year where she did not have her best stuff but battled and fought her way to wins,” said Vaughan.
Paavola was 22-4 in the pitching circle, including 10 complete-game performances. She rolled up a NWC-best 133 strikeouts while posting a 1.93 earned run average. The 5-foot-10 junior righthander pitched the Wildcats to three shutouts while holding opponents to a .206 batting average.
The Marshall Award was established in honor of 1957 Linfield graduate Vern Marshall, a former athlete, and college and professional sports referee who passed away in 2002.
“Karina is very deserving of this award for the fight and drive she showed throughout another dominating season in the circle,” said Vaughan.
The Kelso, Wash., native is a business major who spent the month of January studying with a group that traveled to Seattle and New York City for hands-on exploration in the sports marketing field.
“Karina is also a very hard worker and is truly driven by her desire to be the best,” said Vaughan. “The thought of failing is a constant motivator in both her off-season and in-season workouts as Karina is one of those players who really hates to lose and will use any loss or setback as motivation to work harder for the next time she gets the opportunity to pitch.”