TEMPE -- Thirty NCAA® softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as candidates today for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate softball and among those are Arizona State University seniors Dallas Escobedo and Bailey Wigness.
Arizona State joins South Florida as the only other program with two selections and marks the first year of the award that two individuals on the list have represented the Sun Devils.
Jackie Velasquez (2008), Jessica Mapes (2009), Lesley Rogers (2011) and Katelyn Boyd (2012) were all selected as candidates in their respective years for the Sun Devils with Mapes and Boyd advancing to become finalists.
Escobedo was the winning pitcher at the 2011 Women's College World Series, completing a year that saw her go 37-3 with 324 strikeouts and an exceptional 1.51 ERA while limiting opponents to an average of just .173. Escobedo has taken the Sun Devils to three straight WCWS appearances and has a career ERA of 2.02 with a 91-17 career record. She was an All-American in 2011 and 2013 and had a whopping 886 strikeouts in her career entering current season where she is within 30 wins of the all-time wins record at ASU, held by phenom Katie Burkhart.
She has posted a 3.25 cumulative GPA during her time at ASU as she pursues two degrees in both Special Education and Family and Human Development. Despite the rigors of being a competitive Division I student-athlete, Escobedo puts much of her time into pursuing her degrees and last semester spent one day a week at a middle school as a teaching assistant where she put together her own lesson plans and worked with students one-on-one.
Wigness is among the elite student-athletes in the nation in all sports and was awarded the NCAA Elite 89 Award in 2013 for softball, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 89 championships. Wigness maintains a 4.00 GPA while pursuing working towards a bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and Communications and has been a member of the Dean’s Honor Roll in all seven semesters of school to date. Additionally, she was a CoSIDA Academic All-American and All-District selection in 2012 and 2013 as well as a Pac-12 All-Academic First Team selection in both those seasons as well.
Wigness has served as a committee member on ASU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board from 2011 to the present, serving as liaison between student-athlete administration, other student-athletes, and the ASU student body, by promoting University athletic programs across campus. She has also been a member of the Fellowship of Christian athletes from 2010 to the present.
In 2013, Wigness posted a .440 on-base percentage that was third among Sun Devil starters. She saw time at leadoff during the absence of Alix Johnson in the middle of the season but did most of her damage at the bottom of the lineup and put an emphasis on the “no-easy outs” facet of the Sun Devil season. She led the team’s starters in batting average at .376 with 53 hits on the season.
Both Escobedo and Wigness are among the most active members of the community in Sun Devil Athletics, having taken part in volunteer duties at numerous Race for the Cure events, the Salvation Army, the SDA annual Fantasy Flight and serving as guest speakers at Celebrating Women of Today and Tomorrow Conference.
ABOUT THE AWARD
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 2014 candidate class includes 13 student-athletes who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Four were named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American team, and nine were members of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America team in 2013.
The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Women’s College World Series® in Oklahoma City May 29 through June 4.