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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Taryne Mowatt wins two ESPY awards

    The summer dream has continued for Taryne Mowatt.

    She led her team to a national championship and she met the U.S. president. Now the ace of the Arizona softball team has won two awards ððð- female athlete of the year and college female athlete of the year – at the ESPYs. The show aired on ESPN Sunday night.

    After 12.5 million votes were cast online for the winners of the 15th annual event, held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, Mowatt defeated Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie, current LPGA golfer and former Wildcat Lorena Ochoa and Tennessee basketball star Candace Parker for athlete of the year.

    “”It was really exciting,”” Mowatt said. “”I was not expecting to win at all.””

    She pitched every inning at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, including eight complete games, and threw more than 1,000 pitches in seven days as the Wildcats repeated as national champions.

    For the season, Mowatt was 42-14, pitched 370 innings and finished with a 1.46 ERA.

    The Arizona softball team was nominated as best women’s college team, but that honor went to the national champion Tennessee basketball team.

    Mowatt made the hour-long drive from her hometown of Corona, Calif., to Hollywood July 10, the night before the filming of the show, and attended a party that night hosted by San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who won four awards. At the party, Mowatt spoted Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.

    “”I kept wanting to go up to him and introduce myself and get a picture with him,”” Mowatt said. “”But I couldn’t do it. People were like, ‘Just do it. He won’t mind.’ But I just couldn’t do it. I was too nervous.””

    If only she knew what being nervous really was.

    During the night of the filming, the show went to a commercial break and an announcement was made: “”Stay tuned, because Peyton Manning and actress Kate Walsh will present the award for best female athlete.””

    Mowatt’s boyfriend, C.J. Ziegler, the first baseman on the Arizona baseball team, nudged her after the announcement.

    “”My boyfriend was like, ‘You could meet Peyton Manning if you win,’ “” Mowatt said.

    Sure enough, Manning came onto the stage with Walsh, a graduate from Catalina High School in Tucson who attended the UA.

    “”And the ESPY goes to Turn Mao-it,”” Walsh said.

    “”Kate Walsh kind of messed up my name a little bit. Well, no, it was a lot, actually,”” Mowatt said with a laugh.

    But it didn’t ruin the moment at all. Mowatt stood up and walked to the stage, a smile permanently fixed upon her face. She lifted the bottom of her blue dress that she bought with teammate Adrienne Acton while the team was in Washington D.C. to meet President Bush.

    “”First dress I tried on,”” she said.

    Mowatt finally got to meet Walsh and Manning, whom she mingled with backstage after she received her award.

    In her speech, Mowatt thanked her parents, fans and all of her teammates, along with her pitching coach since she was 7, Doug Finch, the father of former Wildcat Jennie Finch.

    “”Giving my speech was the most nervous I have ever been in my whole life,”” Mowatt said. “”I was 10 times more nervous giving my speech than I was any inning during the World Series. I was more nervous than meeting President Bush. I was absolutely shaking. I thought I was going to collapse because I couldn’t hold myself up anymore. I was shaking so bad.””

    When she got back to her seat, she was named the female college athlete of the year.

    “”I didn’t know that I won the second award until I got back in my seat and it showed my name on the screen,”” she said.

    Mowatt did not get to take her awards home because they had to be mailed to her.

    Ziegler said all the signs were present for her to be awarded.

    “”I knew she was going to win,”” he said. “”You could just tell. They were making sure she was in her seat before they brought her to the stage. It says a lot about her as a player and a person. I am so proud of her.””

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