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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Baker, Furner named Wildcats of the Year

The inaugural Orion Sports Wildcat of the Year voting has come to a close. And with that, the first Wildcats of the Year have been selected.

Nick Baker is your 2014 male Wildcat of the Year, and Brianna Furner has been named as your 2014 female Wildcat of the Year. Baker, a former pitcher on the Chico State baseball team, received 79 percent of the male vote. Furner, who just wrapped up her senior season in soccer as the Chico State’s goalkeeper, earned 65 percent of the male vote.

Both Baker and Furner wrote to The Orion to address the honor in their own words.

Former Chico State pitcher Nick Baker has been named the 2014 Orion Sports male Wildcat of the Year. Photo courtesy of Nick Baker.

The Wildcat of the Year award is something that is very special. I can’t thank the city of Chico, my coaches and my teammates enough for making this possible. The award is great, but it singles a person out. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for everyone involved in the process.

I competed against many great athletes throughout my career at Chico State. To be nominated with these other athletes is an honor in and of itself. The numbers behind this award are great, but they don’t tell the whole story. I want to share this award with the defense that supported me, hitters that scored runs for me and pitchers that relieved me.

Lastly, I would like to thank my family and girlfriend for providing endless support. They were always there for me during the good and bad days. The combination of all these tremendous people has led me to where I am today.

Thank you,

Nick Baker

Soccer goalkeeper Brianna Furner has been named the 2014 Orion Sports female Wildcat of the Year. Photo courtesy of Brianna Furner.

I believe there is a distinct difference between athletes who have success playing their chosen sport not only because they have earned the privilege of competing at the sport they love, but those athletes that really appreciate and understand what it is to represent your school and community every time you take the field.

The past four years, I have learned a lot about myself personally as an athlete, an individual and most importantly as a team member of the Chico State women’s soccer team. The love of the game was always first and foremost for me, but as time evolved while here at Chico State, my drive and work ethic and motivation shifted to not only being about my own personal goals, but I wanted so much to be the best I could be for my teammates, my coaches and the Chico State community.

I am extremely grateful and can’t thank everyone enough for the most unforgettable career. Coach Sutton gave me the opportunity to play here and believed in me and trusted me to be the starting goalkeeper as a freshman. As with any athlete you hit bumpy spots and Coach always was able to build up my confidence when I was struggling. She didn’t only help me grow as a player, but also as a person over the past four years. Along with Coach’s support, every player I have had the privilege of playing with has impacted me to push me and make me better. The Chico State women’s soccer team is a family and these girls have become my sisters during all the struggles and successes that we have experienced together.

I will always cherish the unconditional love and support from my team and community. I am grateful for the understanding and support my professors showed during my season due to missing class and/or rescheduling exams. The entire student athletic department showed enormous love and support by coming to our games and cheering us on. It would not have been the same experience if it weren’t for our supportive student body.

Thank you for the all the memories and the support,

A Wildcat for life,

Brianna Furner

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