Minnesota softball shortstop Jess Oakland was named Big Ten Player of the year amidst four other Gophers that received Big Ten awards, the conference announced on Wednesday.

Junior Taylor Krapf and Oakland were named First Team All-Big Ten, Oakland was a unanimous first team selection.

Graduates Sydney Strelow and Morgan DeBord picked up second team honors while Jacie Hambrick was a Sportsmanship Award nominee.

Strelow, DeBord, and Oakland were also named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

Oakland is the first Gopher to win the Big Ten Player of the Year award since Kendyl Lindaman (2017, 2018) and is the fifth player to win it in Minnesota softball history. This past season, Oakland made her mark in Minnesota’s record book. The shortstop is Minnesota’s single season leader with 68 runs scored, second in batting average (0.455), fifth in doubles (19), third in home runs (19), and fifth in walks (38).

The San Jose, Calif., native leads the country in multiple categories including: fifth in batting average, ninth in doubles, eighth in home runs, fifth in on base percentage (0.554), fifth in slugging percentage (0.915), and fourth in total bases (151).

Krapf picked up this season right where she left off in 2023. Earning the first team selection for the second year in a row as Minnesota’s starting catcher. Krapf is batting 0.316 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI, is slugging 0.600 with a 0.427 on base clip.

This past season, Krapfi hit multiple single-game records. Including two multi-home run games against NC State and Iowa. She grabbed three doubles against Ohio State and secured seven RBI against Illinois.

Receiving second team honors in the second base spot, Strelow has recorded three multiple hit games in Minnesota’s last six. Notably, Strelow has helped lead the Gopher defense to second in the nation and first in the conference turning double plays per game.

In her career wearing the Maroon and Gold, the Kenosha, Wis., native has started 223 and competed in 227. The second team nod is the first all-conference award Strelow has received.

DeBord transferred to Minnesota after a successful softball career at Loyola Marymount. She quickly fit right in at centerfield and wasted no time being a key asset to the Gophers’ lineup in centerfield and at the plate.

DeBord is second overall on Minnesota’s roster batting .350 with 33 runs and 27 RBI Defensively, she’s had 92 putouts and a 0.990 fielding percentage.

Hambrick, a senior out of Dewey, Ariz., has made 17 starts with six wins this season in the circle. Notably, she went 3-0 against Iowa on the road.

Complete List of Minnesota’s 2024 Big Ten Individual Awards:
Jess Oakland: Big Ten Player of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten, All-Defensive Team
Taylor Krapf: First Team All-Big Ten
Morgan DeBord: Second Team All-Big Ten, All-Defensive Team
Sydney Strelow: Second Team All-Big Ten, All-Defensive Team
Jacie Hambrick: Sportsmanship Award

(info and picture courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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