The Daily Nole

FSU 2017-18 Athletic Year in Review: Women’s Sports Superlatives

Maury Neipris/FSU athletics

Another athletic year has come and gone for Florida State and what a year it was, especially on the women’s side of the spectrum.

Both FSU softball and beach volleyball played for national championships with softball claiming the ultimate prize. A number of teams, athletes and coaches stood out for the Seminoles.

In a piece similar to one written last year, we look back on the superlatives when it comes to FSU women’s sports from the past athletic year.

Team of the Year: FSU Softball
For the first time in program history, Florida State softball was finally able to claim a national championship. After winning the ACC regular season title for a sixth straight year and ACC Tournament title for a fifth straight year, the Seminoles breezed through the Tallahassee Regional before winning six straight elimination games to advance to the national championship series against Washington.

Jessie Warren and Meghan King got the majority of FSU’s championship spotlight, but the Seminoles’ improbable run was fueled by contributions throughout the lineup and pitching staff. FSU swept Washington in two games to claim the national championship, winning 1-0 and 8-3.

Athlete of the Year: Jessie Warren, FSU Softball
A senior third baseman for FSU softball, Jessie Warren takes this honor for the second straight season. Warren rewrote the ACC record books this past season, becoming the conference’s all-time leader in home runs and RBIs while earning a second straight ACC Player of the Year honor. Warren finished the year with a .404 average, 21 home runs and 70 RBIs.

Warren was outstanding in the NCAA Tournament, homering in all three games of the Tallahassee Super Regional. Warren was named Most Outstanding Player of the Women’s College World Series for her offense as well as her defense. Her diving catch turned double play in the opening game of the national championship series against Washington will forever live in FSU lore.

Freshman of the Year: Ka’Tia Seymour, FSU Track and Field/Sydney Sherrill, FSU Softball
Picking between Ka’Tia Seymour and Sydney Sherrill was simply too tough, so we made this one a joint honor. During the indoor season, Seymour claimed an ACC title in the 200 meters before going on to win first-team All-American honors in the event and second-team honors in the 60 meters. During the outdoor season, Seymour won the ACC title in the 100 meters before earning first-team All-American honors in three separate events.

Sherrill hit .370 for the FSU softball team as a freshman, which ranked second only to Jessie Warren. Sherrill was also second only to Warren with 12 home runs and 58 RBIs. Her 29 doubles as a freshman not only set a new FSU school-record, but it led the nation. Both Sherrill and Seymour were named ACC Freshman of the Year for their respective sports.

FSU’s Garbiella Castaneda went from 5-18 in singles matches in 2017 to 17-11 in 2018. (Jeremy Esbrandt/FSU athletics)

Most Improved Athlete of the Year: Gabriella Castaneda, FSU Tennis
After going just 5-18 in singles matches as a junior in 2017, Gabriella Castaneda finished 17-11 this past season and 20-9 in doubles matches, including a perfect 9-0 when teamed with Petra Hule. Castaneda also won hard-fought NCAA Tournament matches in wins over Florida and Tulsa.

Coach of the Year: Jennifer Hyde, FSU Tennis
For the second straight year, the Florida State women’s tennis program ascended under head coach Jennifer Hyde. The Seminoles collected 21 wins — the most since 1982 — which included two over rival Florida and one that ended the Gators’ season in Gainesville. With wins over North Florida, Florida and Tulsa, FSU reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

Performance of the Year: Meghan King, FSU Softball, Women’s College World Series
She wasn’t named the Most Outstanding Player of the Women’s College World Series, but junior lefty Meghan King was nothing short of dominant. The All-ACC pitcher appeared in each of FSU’s seven games in Oklahoma City and a set a WCWS record by positing a 0.21 ERA. King threw four complete games and added one save.

FSU women’s track and field claimed its first indoor ACC title since 2014 in February. (Bob Thomas/FSU athletics)

Contest of the Year: FSU Track and Field at ACC Indoor Championships
There were a number of FSU softball or beach volleyball NCAA Tournament contests that could have made the list or perhaps FSU women’s tennis rallying past Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but the women’s performance at the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships should not be overlooked.

FSU had finished in the top 4 in each of the previous three years, but hadn’t won the title since 2014. That changed this year with FSU scoring 91 points — 10 more than second-place Virginia Tech. It is Florida State’s third indoor women’s title in a decade.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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