MANCHESTER, N.H. - Amanda Bickford '18, a four-year member of the Saint Anselm College softball team, was voted as the Jenny Thompson Female Athlete of the Year at the New Hampshire Union Leader's "The Leaders: A Celebration of New Hampshire Sports Champions" banquet in February.
Bickford, who was awarded "Athlete of the Month" honors by the Union Leader in May 2018, was chosen by a panel of judges out of the 12 month-by-month recipients from across the Granite State.
The outfielder helped Saint Anselm to the NCAA Division II national runner-up finish in its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship. The Hawks recorded a school-record 44 victories, a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division regular-season title, a run to the national championship series, a program-record five wins over top-25 opponents and a school-record 13-game winning streak.
Saint Anselm's 44-13-1 record shattered the previous school record for wins (33 in 1997) by 11 and included an 8-3 mark in the NCAA postseason, with six of the eight victories coming by one or two runs. The national runner-up finish marked the highest-ever placement by a Saint Anselm team in any sport.
The team captain started all 58 games as a senior, batting .406 on the season while posting a school-record 88 hits, striking out only nine times. She led the Northeast-10 Conference in hits, recording 17 more than the second-place finisher, and ranked second in batting average, third in runs scored and eighth in on-base percentage (.427).
Earning NCAA Division II All-Tournament Team merits, Bickford reached base safely in 10-of-11 games. She went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI in 4-3 victory over No. 25 Saint Leo at the championship in Salem, Va. and, earlier in the postseason, had a clutch go-ahead two-run double in fourth inning as part of 3-for-4 performance in 4-3 win against Merrimack in the East Regional, hosted by Saint Anselm.
Across a four-year career, Bickford concluded her tenure as Saint Anselm's all-time leader in career hits (237) while ranking second in batting average (.389) and total bases (273), fourth in runs scored (97), fifth in on-base percentage (.414), fifth in games played (166) and 10th in doubles (30).
Other accolades include two separate All-East Region First Team nods by the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association and the Division II Conference Commissioners' Association. She also picked up First Team All-Conference honors from the NE10 for the second-straight season. As a junior, Bickford was her team's only First Team All-League pick from 2006-2017.
Bickford was also a four-year member of the Hawks volleyball team, finishing her career with 247 kills and only 68 attacking errors for a .241 career hitting percentage. She was a part of Saint Anselm's first volleyball team to not only win an NE10 playoff game, but also appear at the NCAA Division II East Regionals in 2017. Bickford helped the Hawks to a 59-48 record in four seasons, graduating as part of the winningest class of senior student-athletes since the Class of 2002.