Florida Gators senior right-handed pitcher Lauren Haeger capped her stellar collegiate career with the top honor awarded by the Southeastern Conference after being named the league’s 2015 Female Athlete of the Year on Thursday.
Haeger becomes the eighth Florida student-athlete to earn the honor, which has been given to Gators 11 total times with Hannah Rogers (2014), Tim Tebow (2008-09), Danny Wuerffel (1996-97) and Nicole Haislett (1993-94) each doubling up. Ryan Lochte (2005), Dara Torres (1988) and Tracy Caulkins (1984) also receiving the award.
The second straight Florida female (and softball player) to win SEC Athlete of the Year after a 20-year gap, Haeger was dominant throughout the 2015 campaign, finishing 32-2 with a 1.23 ERA and 214 strikeouts in 222.1 innings. She was also Florida’s best hitter, batting .348 with team-highs of 19 home runs and 71 RBI.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment for Lauren to be named the Female Athlete of the Year in the SEC. It’s a tremendous honor for Lauren and all of her teammates who helped her achieve this award,” said head coach Tim Walton. “This says a lot about the season she had and shows the overall importance of being a great player on a team that has a great year. We are very honored for the SEC to recognize Lauren and super proud of her and the great career she has had for the Gators.”
Her dominance reached new heights in the postseason when she helped dominate the competition throughout the 2015 NCAA Tournament, leading the Gators to their second consecutive national title with a victory in the Women’s College World Series.
Haeger went 8-1 in nine tournament starts, only losing by a 1-0 decision in a game void of run support. She tossed 65.0 total innings in the event, registering 44 strikeouts and giving up 36 hits (11 of which came a nine-inning game) while only walking nine batters and allowing six earned runs. Haeger was simultaneously Florida’s best bet at the plate, hitting .433 with four homers, 11 RBI, seven runs, eight walks and a stolen base.
Named Most Outstanding Player of the event, Haeger has brought home multiple honors this season including 2015 USA Softball Player of the Year (first in program history), 2015 SEC Pitcher of the Year and 2015 Honda Sport Award winner for softball.