BERKELEY, Calif. – California softball alumna and USA Softball Women’s National Team first baseman Valerie Arioto (2008-12) is a finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s (WSF) Sportswoman of the Year award, the WSF announced Monday. Arioto was selected in the team sport category as part of her achievements with Team USA between Aug. 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014.
Sportswoman of the Year award winners will be determined by a combination of public vote (50 percent) and the WSF’s Awards Committee’s vote (50 percent). The winners will be the two athletes – one individual sport finalist and one team sport finalist – who receive the highest combined share of a public vote and the Awards Committee vote. Fans can visit http://wspr.tc/VoteTeamSOY2014 to cast their vote for the Sportswoman of the Year award through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 8.
Arioto and her Team USA squad are coming off a silver-medal finish at the International Softball Federation’s World Championships in Haarlem, Netherlands, where the squad lost to Japan 4-1 in the finale. The Golden Bear All-American also helped lead the Eagles to a silver medal at the Canadian Open with a .474 batting average, five home runs, 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored, plus a gold medal at the World Cup of Softball IX. At the World Cup, Arioto batted .400 with five home runs, 12 RBIs and seven runs. In 2013, Team USA captured gold at the Pan American Games Qualifier after Arioto batted .500 with five homers, 18 RBIs and 13 runs scored.
A four-year veteran of the Women’s National Team and two-time USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year, Arioto propelled the Bears to two Women’s College World Series appearances during her time at Cal, including a 2012 appearance in which the Bears posted their best-ever 58-7 record and won the inaugural Pac-12 Championship. She won the Senior CLASS award as a senior (2012) and was the conference Player of the Year.
Among previous Sportswoman of the Year winners from the softball community are Jessica Mendoza (2008), Monica Abbott (2007), Cat Osterman (2005) and Lisa Fernandez (1994). Golden Bears Missy Franklin (women’s swimming and diving, 2013) and Alex Morgan (women’s soccer, 2012) have also picked up Sportswoman of the Year awards for Cal.
The winner in each category will be invited to attend the Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Gala on Wednesday, October 15 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, where they will accept their awards.