GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Each year, based on on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship, USA Baseball gives the Golden Spikes Award to the top amateur baseball player in the nation. Past winners include 2x World Series champion Terry Francona, Cy Young Award winners Tim Lincecum and David Price, and former National League MVPs Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, and Kris Bryant. With the 2022 season getting underway, USA Baseball announced the 55 names on the preseason watch list.

Colorado Mesa’s own Haydn McGeary became the first CMU Maverick and first-ever Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) athlete to find themselves on the watch list. McGeary is one of only two non-Division I ballplayers trying to win the award, along with Cam Collier of Chipola College. Only two winners have come from outside the Division I ranks, Alex Fernandez (1990, Miami Dade Community College) and Bryce Harper (2010, College of Southern Nevada).

McGeary was the consensus Division II National Player of the Year in 2021 after leading DII in hits, doubles, runs batted in (RBI), total bases, and slugging percentage. In 106 games for CMU, he has 172 hits for a career batting average of .430 with 40 homeruns, 48 doubles, and 164 RBIs.

The Mavericks opened their 2022 season with a four-game sweep of Azusa Pacific. McGeary started his campaign off strong, scoring 5 runs while going 7 for 15 (.467) at the plate with 2 homeruns and 6 RBIs.

Sixteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented by the 55 players, including six 2021 semifinalists: Landon Sims (Mississippi State), Jacob Berry (LSU), Jace Jung (Texas Tech), Austin Knight (Charlotte), Ethan Long (Arizona State), and Paul Skenes (Air Force). LSU leads all teams with three players on the list.