MARSHALL, Texas (6/21/10) –– East Texas Baptist softball player Ayrika Henderson has been selected as the 2009-10 American Southwest Conference Female Athlete of the Year after a vote of the conference's sports information directors and ASC Outstanding Media Service Award members.
The American Southwest Conference Athlete of the Year award, in its eleventh year, recognizes the male and female student-athlete whose athletic accomplishments during the current athletic year best contributed to their sport, their institution's overall athletic program and to the conference. Each ASC member institution nominates its campus Athlete of the Year award recipients to the conference-wide ballot.
McMurry football and baseball player Jake Mullin was named the Male Athlete of the Year.
Henderson becomes ETBU's first winner of the ASC's top award and just the second softball player ever to be honored, joining Louisiana College's Sandi Clark (2005-06).
Henderson (Nacogdoches, TX / NHS), a nursing major, helped ETBU claim the first NCAA Division III national championship in school history and just the third in conference history. The senior right-hander went 21-7 with a 1.74 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 157 1/3 innings.
Henderson also recorded 17 complete games, four shutouts and held opponents to just a .190 batting average against her. She was the winning pitcher in six of the Lady Tigers' final seven games, including the national title-clinching 5-4 victory over Linfield. Her three wins at the national championship earned her all-tournament honors.
Overall in the NCAA playoffs, she went 6-1 with a 0.84 ERA in 33 1/3 innings that spanned 10 appearances.
Henderson was an ASC first-team performer in the East Division, which sent four teams to the NCAA postseason. She was named an all-academic winner as well.
Henderson began the season being dubbed the ASC East Preseason Pitcher of the Year. ETBU awarded her with its annual female Top Tiger honor.
Henderson leaves ETBU ranking in the top four all-time in Tiger wins (40, 3rd); innings pitched (282 2/3, 4th); strikeouts (306, 2nd) and shutouts (14, 2nd).
(Courtesy: ETBU Athletics Department)