Michigan senior second baseman Sierra Romero held back tears as she accepted the trophy as the 2016 USA Softball National College Player of the Year Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Romero, a three-time Big Ten Player of the Year who holds two career national records for runs and grand slams has long been considered one of the best players in the sport, is now identified as the best player in the game.
With her teammates, coaching staff and younger sister, Sydney — a freshman at Oklahoma, which, like Michigan, is among the eight teams in the College World Series — in the crowd, Romero felt the moment.
“I was really proud because I put so much time and hours on and off the field,” Romero said during a conference call Tuesday night. “It all hit me when I was talking up there.”
She said to keep from crying, she peppered her speech with “Whooos”.
“I did that 50 times trying not to cry,” Romero said. “My teammates were laughing at me. I didn’t know that line was my thing.”
What Romero said she has always known is that a piece of hardware doesn’t define a player or her legacy. During her speech, she said the award is also her teammates’ award.
“I don’t think an award is going to define you as the best,” Romero said when asked if she feels she’s the best softball player in the country. “I’m one of the top. I don’t know what defines someone as the top player.”
Romero enters this week’s College World Series — second-ranked Michigan plays LSU in a first-round game Thursday night — hitting .465 with 19 home runs and 78 RBIs. Last weekend she became the first player to reach the 300 career mark for RBIs, runs and hits. She has 304 RBIs, 300 runs and 301 hits.
Along with the NCAA career runs record, she also hold the career record for grand slams with 11.
She beat out finalists Kasey Cooper of Auburn and Florida pitcher Aleshia Ocasio for the National Player of the Year award.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said late last month when asked if Romero is the best player that it’s difficult to argue with Romero’s numbers.
“I always say she’s arguably the best player and not just at Michigan, but ever,” Hutchins told The Detroit News. “She’s the complete package. Her idea of a slump is to have a bad weekend. She doesn’t understand what a slump is.
“I don’t look at everyone else’s stats, but I think she’s the best player in the country. There are a lot of players who are very good. She’s the complete package.”
Romero is thrilled her younger sister has the opportunity to play in the World Series.
“I’m just excited my senior year I get to go to the World Series with my team and my sister is going to be there, too, and I get to hang out with her and maybe play her,” Romero said Monday in Ann Arbor. “And my family is going to be there. So it’s always nice when all the Romeros can get together.”