Golden chance to shine in U.S. softball
For most, graduation not only means the end of high school, it's the conclusion of their competitive careers. The glory days of competing and practicing five to six days a week is replaced by Wednesday night recreation leagues.
But for a pair of Ridge Meadow's softball players, graduation means another step in their playing careers.
Andrea Sitter, a left-handed lead-off hitter, and Rebeka Allen, who pitches and plays the hot corner, are taking their talents south of the boarder this fall.
Sitter is heading to the state of Texas, where she will suit up for the Trinity Valley Cardinals while Allen will head to the great state of Kansas to play for the Seward Saints, both in NJCAA Division I schools.
It's an opportunity both girls have been striving for since they first picked up a glove when they were kids.
"It exciting to go to a new place," says Sitter, who is following in her sister's footsteps of heading to the U.S. to play softball.
"It's a great opportunity to get an education and keep playing the game I love. I'm looking forward to the whole college atmosphere."
Allen admits she's nervous about the next step in her career, but knows once she's on the diamond, the butterflies will give way to her competitive nature.
"There's a lot of good ball players down there. It's a higher intensity level, but I was really impressed with the coaches. You learn quickly at this level," says Allen.
Both Ridge Meadows Minor Softball players were selected to play on a newly formed Synergy Gold select team, comprised of the association's best 17- and 18-year-olds.
Coach Tom Bowen said the idea was to showcase B.C.'s best in the competitive and scholarship-driven recruiting tournaments in the U.S. last fall.
"You have to stand out, that's for sure," says Bowen, a Ridge Meadows coach for more than 16 years. "You don't want to go down their and get your butt kicked."
Bowen says both Sitter and Allen clearly rose to the occasion, a big reason they were added to the select team.
"They wouldn't be intimidated by going down to the U.S. Rather, they look forward to the chance."
Both players say it will take some time getting used to not seeing each other every day at practice or on game day. The years of good-natured horseplay will now give way to coaches and trainers who are paid to win.
Both players had opportunities to head to bigger schools in even bigger cities, but chose their teams, in part, based on their desire to live and get an education in a smaller town.
"I'm not a California girl," laughs Sitter.
Both players thank their families for the years of support, as well as their coaches.
Synergy Gold coach Kim Brooks, who played for the Oklahoma Sooners, used her background to not only improve their playing skills, but helped guide the pair through the rigorous and highly competitive process of landing a scholarship. From building a resume to compiling video, Brooks helped steer Sitter and Allen in the right direction.
"It's so rewarding to see them live out their dreams," says Brooks.