Emily Benson became the first player in program history to earn regional player of the year honors. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
WWU's Emily Benson Named D2CCA West Region Player of the Year
April 9, 2019
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Western Washington University senior first baseman Emily Benson has been selected as the 2019 NCAA Division II West Region Player of the Year by the Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA).
Benson (West Richland, WA) became the first player in WWU history and the fourth in Great Northwest Athletic Conference history to earn player of the year honors in voting conducted by sports information directors at schools in the West Region.
The senior first baseman was one of 14 selections as a First Team All-West Region selection, joining Pitcher of the Year Callie Nunes from Concordia Irvine as the top award winners. Benson was previously named the 2019 GNAC Player of the Year and became the fourth Viking to earn three First Team All-GNAC awards in a career.
Benson put together a record-breaking senior season in 2019, setting WWU single-season records for batting average (.448/56-for-125), on-base percentage (.567), slugging percentage (.896), OPS (1.463) and home runs (14). She was a three-time GNAC Player of the Week, the 2019 Tournament of Champions MVP, a NFCA National Player of the Week and one of 25 finalists for the NFCA Division II Player of the Year.
In four seasons at WWU (2015-17, 2019), Benson leaves the program as the all-time leader in several offensive categories, including batting average (.377), slugging (.692), on-base (.477), OPS (1.169), hits (208), extra-base hits (82), total bases (382), walks (104) and RBI (156), while playing in the second-most games (188). Her 45 career home runs tie the all-time GNAC record and ranks in the top-10 in conference history in career slugging percentage, on-base percentage, RBI, walks and total bases.
Benson is the fourth player in program history to earn First Team All-West Region honors from D2CCA (formerly Daktronics), joining Liza Teichler (2007), Erika Quint (2011) and Anna Kasner (2017). She joins Central Washington players Kailyn Campbell (2017), Samantha Petrick (2011) and Kelsey Haupert (2010) as GNAC student-athletes to earn Regional Player of the Year honors by D2CCA.
The Vikings finished the 2019 season with a 27-18 record, tying for the 10th-most wins in the 27-year history of the program. First-year head coach Sheryl Gilmore led the Vikings to a 16-12 record in GNAC play, tying for 4th place in the conference standings.
-- WWU Softball --