McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Four Linfield student-athletes have been selected as finalists for the prestigious “2010 Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year” presented by the Oregon Sports Awards. The winners will be announced at the awards show Sunday, Jan. 30 at the Nike World Campus in Beaverton, Ore.
The honorees include football player Eric Hedin, former baseball student-athlete Kelson Brown, and current softball stars Karleigh Prestianni and Staci Doucette.
Hedin, a senior defensive end, was named the Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year after dominating his opponents on the gridiron. He tallied 80 tackles in 2010, including 36 tackles for loss and a school-record 22 sacks. His sacks total was the most across all divisions of the NCAA and was the sixth-highest single-season figure ever recorded in Division III history.
He was also named to the American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches’ All-America Team and D3football.com's All-West Region team.
Former baseball star Brown wrapped one of the greatest individual performances in program history in 2010 before moving on to the professional ranks. His senior season, the shortstop led the team in batting average (.443) and set school records for hits (89), doubles (27), RBIs (72) and total bases (147).
Brown was an ABCA All-American and the NWC Player of the Year, and was also named to the West Region team. He became the first Linfield player in more than a decade to be selected in the Major League Baseball Draft when he was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On the women’s side, two Wildcat softball players are finalists for the same award in Prestianni and Doucette. Their resumes were bolstered by Linfield’s second-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Division III championship. The team also won a school-record 26 straight victories and captured the Northwest Conference championship for the seventh straight year.
Newcomer Prestianni made her talents known immediately, garnering first team All-America honors in her first season at Linfield. The infielder tallied an NCAA Division III freshman record 19 home runs while hitting .424 on the year. She was also a first team all-NWC selection.
Joining Prestianni as a finalist is teammate and fellow infielder Doucette, who repeated as a first-team All-American in 2010. She broke school records for batting average (.477), On-base percentage (.550), Slugging Percentage (.935), RBIs (66) and recorded an NCAA-best 20 home runs. Doucette was recognized as the NWC Player of the Year for her stellar on-field performance.
Student-athletes from Oregon’s 14 NCAA Division II and III and NAIA-affiliated colleges and universities are eligible to receive the honor. The award is named for former Wildcat head coach Rutschman, who coached national championship-winning teams at Linfield, three in football and one in baseball.
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McMinnville, OR 97128