Oregon Sports Awards Website
Linfield College softball star Staci Doucette was named the female recipient of the Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year Award as part of the annual Oregon Sports Awards held Sunday, Jan. 30, at the Stanford Theatre on the campus of Nike World Headquarters.
Doucette becomes the first woman recipient from Linfield to receive the prestigious award and the sixth overall winner from Linfield since the honor was established in 2001.
Doucette topped a field of five finalists for the Rutschman Award that included current Linfield teammate and fellow All-American Karleigh Prestianni, as well as Concordia University golfer Lindsay Aho, Concordia soccer player Brittany Orr, and Southern Oregon University basketball star Jacki Speer.
Doucette, a junior infielder from Vancouver, Wash., led Linfield to conference and regional championships and helped the Wildcats advance to within one victory of claiming the program’s second NCAA Division III championship in four years. Linfield finished its record-breaking 2010 season with a 5-4 loss to East Texas Baptist in the national championship game.
Doucette was the Northwest Conference Player of the Year and a first team All-American for a second straight season. She set school records for batting average (.477), on-base percentage (.550), slugging percentage (.935), RBIs (66), while hitting a NCAA-best 20 home runs.
“Staci’s ability to hit for average and power, along with everything else she does on the field, really sets her apart,” said Linfield softball coach Jackson Vaughan. “It’s neat to see what she has been able to accomplish in such a short time.”
Prestianni, a freshman third baseman, made an immediate impact during her debut season, garnering first team All-America honors while hitting .424 with a NCAA Division III freshman record 19 home runs.
Baseball standout Kelson Brown and football All-American Eric Hedin were male finalists for the Rutschman Award, which went to Southern Oregon University wrestler Mitchell Lofstedt.
Brown was a first team ABCA All-America shortstop as a senior in 2010 and was named West Region and Northwest Conference Player of the Year. He enjoyed one of the finest statistical seasons ever recorded by a Linfield player. With Brown in the lineup, Linfield achieved a third-place finish at the NCAA Division III Championships and piled up a school-record 37 wins. Brown hit a team-best .443 (third-best all-time at Linfield) while setting club records for hits (89) doubles (27), RBIs (72) and total bases (147). He shares single-season marks for games played and started (50). He hit nine home runs and stole 20 bases while posting a .941 fielding percentage.
Hedin, a towering defensive end at 6-foot-7, was Linfield’s leading tackler with 80 stops in 11 games. He piled up 36 tackles for losses totaling 153 yards, including a school-record and NCAA-leading 22 sacks. He also blocked three kicks, had four pass breakups, and recovered three fumbles. Hedin was selected as the NWC Defensive Player of the Year while earned first team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association and d3football.com. Hedin helped propel Linfield to a 9-2 record, the NWC championship, and a second-round appearance NCAA Division III playoffs.
Rutschman guided Linfield to four national championships, three in football and one in baseball, in 24 seasons. He is the only college coach at any level to win national titles in two different sports. The Rutschman Award is given annually to the outstanding male and female student-athletes representing the state’s 14 NCAA Division II and III and NAIA-affiliated colleges and universities, and 10 community colleges, in the calendar year 2010.
Previous Rutschman Award recipients from Linfield have included David Russell (football, 2002), Tyler Matthews (football, 2003), Brett Elliott (football, 2004 and 2005) and Aaron Boehme (football, 2009).
Linfield baseball coach Scott Brosius, who guided the Wildcats to the NCAA Finals, and former Linfield football player and assistant coach Chris Casey, who led Aloha High School to the Oregon Class 6A state football title last fall, were finalists for the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year award. The Slats Gill Award honors the top coach or sports administrator from the previous year. Rutschman himself was a five-time Slats Gill Award winner.
Comcast SportsNet will air this year's Oregon Sports Awards on several occasions, including Monday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 1 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 11 at 9 p.m.
Sixth overall award recipient from Linfield
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128