Brickey Earns Top KU Softball Honor, Team Awards Unveiled
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball overcame a slow start to the 2016 campaign to put together another record-breaking season, including a fourth-place finish in the Big 12, which ties for the best standing under head coach Megan Smith.
While the record-breaking year was a team effort on all accounts, a few individuals went above and beyond with their performances on the diamond, as Smith and her staff announced the 2016 team awards. Senior shortstop Chaley Brickey was named the Big Jay recipient and the KU Offensive Player of the Year. Junior second baseman Taylor McElhaney earned Kansas’ Defensive Player of the Year honors while sophomore Andie Formby was named the Pitcher of the Year. Freshman pitcher Alexis Reid was selected as the Rookie of the Year and senior outfielder Shannon McGinley took home the Academic award.
The Big Jay Award is presented to the student-athlete that best exemplifies what it means to be a part of Kansas softball on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Brickey, a four-year starter at shortstop, earned KU softball’s top honor. One of five team captains, Brickey started all 51 games and claimed KU’s all-time RBI, walks and runs scored records.
Brickey also was recognized as KU’s Offensive Player of the Year for the third time in her career. In 2016, the Haltom City, Texas native led the Jayhawks in eight offensive categories, including batting average (.387), runs scored (48), hits (55), doubles (18) and slugging percentage (.725). Brickey also drew a Big 12-best 41 walks, while recording a team-high 16 multi-hit efforts and nine multi-RBI games.
On the defensive side, sophomore Taylor McElhaney was chosen as the Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. The second baseman started every game during the 2016 campaign with 110 putouts and 76 assists while committing just four errors, including one miscue against nonconference opponents. McElhaney batted .314 in Big 12 action with 11 hits and three RBIs.
Sophomore hurler Andie Formby was named the Jayhawks’ Pitcher of the Year. Formby led KU’s pitching staff with a 16-7 record in the circle in 33 appearances. The Orange, California native posted the fourth-lowest ERA in the Big 12 (2.26) and the fourth-most strikeouts (113). Formby finished second in the league in shutouts thrown (9) and hurled 14 complete games. She threw her first career no-hitter against Saint Louis (3/20) and tossed nearly 29 shutout innings prior to becoming the 26th Jayhawk to toss a no-hitter.
A product of Blue Springs, Missouri, Reid was named KU softball’s Rookie of the Year. In Big 12 action, she made six starts and eight appearances in the circle for the Jayhawks. Reid ended her rookie campaign with a 4-1 mark in league play, including a victory over No. 3 Oklahoma. She surrendered 15 earned runs in 35 and one-thirds innings for a 2.97 ERA. The right-hander struck out 14 Big 12 batters and tossed four complete games while allowing 13 walks.
Smith and her staff awarded the academic honor to the member of the roster who earned the highest GPA over the last year. McGinley was recognized for her efforts in the classroom along with her accomplishments on the field. She registered a .344 clip at the plate, good for second-best on the squad, in 51 starts. McGinley also finished second on the roster in hits (53), doubles (11) and runs scored (31). The senior recorded a team-best 10 sacrifice hits in 2016, while posting 13 multi-hit efforts and four multi-RBI performances.
The coaching staff also named the Wheaties as the winner of the Rock Chalk Team Award. The Wheaties five-member team included Formby, Kylee Kennedy, Taylor Dodson, Ania Williams and Mikayla Warren. KU’s roster is split into four teams that, throughout the school year, have friendly competitions like pumpkin carving, baking and the World Series. The team with the most victories at the end of the season is crowned with the Rock Chalk Team Award.
Another honor that Smith and her staff awarded was to the support staff member of the year. There are many individuals that support the Jayhawks on and off the diamond throughout the season, but during the 2016 campaign one stood out among all others. Larry Hare, Assistant Athletics Director of Equipment Services was selected as the 2016 support staff member of the year. Hare and his staff work tirelessly to make sure that the Jayhawks are equipped and ready for both practice and games.
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