THE WINNER: Nicole Newman
School: La Follette (Madison, Wis.)
Athletic achievement: She posted a 15-4 record with a 0.44 ERA and 311 strikeouts against only 22 walks in 143.2 innings-pitched this past season, leading the Lancers (17-5) to the Division 1 regional finals. A returning First Team All-State selection as named by the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association, Newman batted .567 with six home runs and 28 RBI. In two Division 1 postseason games, Newman recorded a 0.00 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 14 innings-pitched.
Academic excellence: Also a basketball and volleyball standout, Newman has maintained a 3.83 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of the National Honor Society as well as her school’s student-athlete advisory council, she has volunteered locally as part of a peer-mentoring program, an anti-drug campaign and La Follette’s Frozen Five 5K Run/Walk, which raised $5,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“Nicole Newman is an amazing pitcher and hitter,” said Dan Bayreuther, head coach of rival Craig (Janesville, Wis.). “In my 23 years of coaching, I have not seen any better player. She can win games by herself. I keep saying to myself, ‘Only one more year.’ Hopefully then, I can just watch her on TV.”
THE FUTURE: Newman will be a senior next year.