Announcement And Team Awards Presented At Postseason Banquet
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It didn't take long for McKynlee Westman to earn the respect of her teammates. Following her rookie season in 2008, they voted her as the recipient of the Barbara Chou Leadership Award. Two years later, those same qualities are still apparent. Westman was elected captain of the 2011 Yale softball team following a team vote. The announcement was made at the annual postseason banquet on Wednesday night.
“I am honored to be elected captain by my teammates,” Westman said. “I see myself as a very even-keeled and level-headed person, so I hope to be the person everyone feels they can depend on to be constant when things get crazy.”
Westman also was named the team's Most Improved Player, one of four awards presented at the banquet. Ashley Sloan, this year's captain, received the Most Valuable Player and Barbara Chou Leadership awards, and Chelsey Locarno was the recipient of the Andy Van Etten Coaches Award, which is bestowed upon the player who represents the ideals of Yale Softball that go beyond statistics.
Westman, a catcher, enjoyed a breakout season for the Bulldogs in 2010. She raised her batting average by nearly 140 points from her sophomore year and had career highs in hits and doubles. Her six doubles tied for the team lead, and she batted .321 in Ivy League games, which was third on the team.
Westman, a Smithville, Mo., native, will be one of only three seniors on next year's team – joining Mariclaire Rebman and Katie Yanagisawa.
“Mariclaire and Katie are going to have huge leadership roles next year,” Westman said. “Since we are a class of only three, each of us will have a big impact on the entire team. All three of us have something different to add to the team, and all three of us will make a very strong leading group.”
During her time at Yale, Westman has learned a great deal from her three predecessors – Aracelis Torres, Megan Enyeart and Sloan.
“I've had great role models to follow,” Westman said. “Ashley did a great job as captain this year, and Megan and Aracelis also taught me a lot. I've learned from all of them that the team captain is the person who stands up for what she believes is right for the team, no matter how difficult that stance may be.”
The Bulldogs, who finished 2010 with an 11-28 overall record, will play a few scrimmages in the fall and then are tentatively scheduled to open the 2011 season at the Rebel Games in Florida in early March.
“We know we have the skill to get the job done and win games,” Westman said. “If we can get our mental game together and have a solid support system for each other, we will succeed.”
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity