June 22, 2004
Tallahassee, FL - Jessica van der Linden may have lost out on the Honda Broderick Cup Tuesday afternoon but the Seminole softball player didn't have to wait long to be nominated for another award. The Cerritos, CA native was named one of five nominees for an ESPY Award Tuesday night in the "Best Female College Athlete" category. She is the first female athlete from FSU to ever be nominated for an ESPY and the nomination is the fifth ever for Florida State.
"This is so cool," said van der Linden. "I can't believe I am nominated for an ESPY. This has been such an amazing year for me and to close out my collegiate career with an ESPY nomination seems like a perfect end to a dream season."
van der Linden faces familiar competition for the 2004 ESPY award as three of the four other nominees are Honda Award winners in their respective sports and were finalists, along with van der Linden, for the Honda-Broderick Cup. Duke's Alana Beard is the only nominee not to win the Honda Award but fellow ESPY nominees Cat Reddick (UNC soccer), Diana Taurasi (UConn basketball) and Honda-Broderick Cup winner Tara Kirk (Stanford swimming) are also on the ESPY ballot. For the first time ever the winner of the ESPY will be determined by a fan vote.
During the 2004 softball season van der Linden became the first Seminole in school history to post two seasons with a .400 average and she did it in back-to-back years as she raised her average to .401 on the year by hitting .714 at the Women's College World Series. van der Linden broke FSU single season records for strikeouts on the hill and RBIs at the plate and she also set new career marks for walks, RBIs, doubles and strikeouts. She finished the season ranked second in the nation in ERA, sixth in strikeouts, 14th in the nation in victories and 32nd in batting average. No player in America had a higher batting average and a lower ERA than the 2004 USA Softball National Player of the Year.
Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke won an ESPY for best college football player at the 2001 ESPY Awards and Charlie Ward took home the same honor in 1994. The Florida State football team was also honored with an ESPY Award as head coach Bobby Bowden accepted the honor when his football program was awarded the "College Team Decade Award". Bowden was also a nominee for an ESPY Coach of the Year honor.
The ESPY Awards will be handed out July 14 in Hollywood, CA at the Kodak Theatre. Jamie Foxx will host the 12th Annual event. The show will be broadcast Sunday, July 18 at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN. Online voting began June 21 and will run through July 9.
Jessica van der Linden is the first female athlete ever at FSU to be nominated for an ESPY.