March 23, 2017 will be a day that Stanfield seniors Maya Gadsden and Kenzie Gonzales will remember for a long time.
It was the day that both ladies took a big step toward achieving one of the biggest goals of their respective athletic careers. In a ceremony at Stanfield Secondary School, the duo signed National Letters of Intent to play college athletics, with Gadsden signing with Treasure Valley Community College for volleyball and Gonzales with Blue Mountain Community College for softball.
“I remember feeling very happy and excited for the next chapter in my life,” Gadsden said. “It was relieving that all my hard work payed off, that it wasn’t for nothing.”
“I’m just super stoked to know that I can play at the next level,” Gonzales said.
Gadsden, who lines up at outside hitter/middle blocker on the court, started playing volleyball in eighth grade, but didn’t start to think about possibly playing in college until her sophomore year of high school. She gathered more attention on the recruiting circuit by playing club volleyball, playing on Club Gold based out of Richland, Washington.
The senior, who will study nursing, said she had interest from three community colleges and a few Division III colleges. But in the end, Treasure Valley stood out to her and made itself the obvious choice.
“I liked that it’s a small school with an excellent coaching staff,” Gadsden said. “They have the same philosophy as my club team, which is a really easy transition. And I was looking to go somewhere that offered on-campus living so I could have a total college experience.”
Gadsen will join a Treasure Valley program that went 10-23 overall in 2016 and finished eighth in the NWAC East region. The Chukars have averaged just over 11 wins per year in the past four seasons, and have not had a winning season since 2009, but Gadsden hopes to help change that.
For Gonzales, who also plans to study nursing, Blue Mountain was the only college she set her sights on.
“It’s close to home, the girls I was able to meet were great and the coach was awesome,” Gonzales said.
The right-handed thrower has a chance to make an immediate impact at Blue Mountain, with the Timberwolves losing two of the three pitchers on its roster after this season. Gonzales will also be teaming up with Pilot Rock pitcher Tehya Ostrom at BMCC next season, and the idea of a locally-dominated pitching staff is something that Gonzales is looking forward to.
“I don’t know her personally, but we’ve competed together on the field for a long time,” Gonzales said. “I’m very excited to call her my teammate and hopefully lead the pitching staff with her.”
Gonzales knows that she and Ostrom will have their work cut out for them, though, as they are joining a BMCC program that, just like Gadsden with TVCC, has not had a winning season in several years. But Gonzales is looking forward to the challenge.
“I would love to say that I was a part of the change in the program,” she said, “and that I am helping turn around a softball team around to build a better program.”
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