WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester State University's senior softball player, Rachel Couto, has been recognized by the NCAA as a Woman of the Year Nominee, as announced by the NCAA Tuesday (Jun. 27) afternoon.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in the four pillars of academics, athletics, service and leadership.
"At Worcester State I was alongside some pretty amazing athletes that were not only unbelievable at competing, but also incredibly well rounded individuals that I was lucky to have in my life," commented Couto. "There are so many of my teammates and other athletes who without a doubt should be recognized as well. That being said, I feel extremely fortunate that I went to a college surrounded with people who helped me obtain my accomplishments. My experiences with athletics, academics and leadership through Worcester State have absolutely given me the ability to be in the position that I am today."
Couto, a Chelmsford, Mass. native, was a three-year standout third baseman for the Worcester State University softball team. In her three years with the Lancers softball program, Couto showed impeccable defense and held a .963 career fielding percentage with 140 putouts and 228 career assists. Offensively for the Blue and Gold, Couto has registered 59 runs, 120 hits (24 doubles, two triples, and four home runs). She has racked up a career 57 RBI and a career batting average of .354.
This past season with the Lancers, Couto was in the top of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) rankings in batting average at (.408). In her final season with the Lancers, Couto was not only named to the league's first team All-Conference, but she was tabbed the MASCAC Softball Player of the Year. She also earned a spot on the Worcester Area Softball All-Star first team and also was recognized on the National Fastpitch College Association (NFCA) All-Region team.
Off the field, Couto was a three-time MASCAC Spring All-Academic Team member and also is a member of the National College Athletic Honor Society "Chi Alpha Sigma". She was on the Dean's list every semester in her academic career at Worcester State and, in addition to being nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, she also was put up for the MASCAC's Howard C. Smith Scholar Athlete Award and was named the Worcester State University's Margaret "Peg" Nugent Female Scholar Athlete at the university's annual awards banquet.
"Rachel was a lead-by-example leader," stated head coach Michelle Cote. "Her quiet confidence on and off the field was a great example to her teammates."
The pool of school honorees marks the largest in the 27-year history of the award (543 nominees). Of the nominees for the national award, 229 competed in Division I, 117 competed in Division II and 197 competed in Division III athletics. The nominees also represent 21 different women's sports and 122 of the nominees were multi-sport athletes during their time in college.
Couto graduated in May of 2017 Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Criminal Justice. She has recently started a job with the Department of Homeland Security at Boston Logan Airport.
"The top three things that I use in my job every single day that Worcester State softball prepared me for are teamwork, respecting individual's differences, and being on time," mentioned Couto.
Couto's career goal is to be either a federal or state law enforcement officer. Since working with the Department of Homeland Security, her career path has changed slightly as she's leaning towards a career in federal law enforcement. However, her passion for being a state or local police officer is still a possibility.
Portions of this Release Courtesy of NCAA Media Relations