Six locals earn first-team all-state honors.
By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | August 11, 2017 | Photo courtesy Brian Fees
By: Brian Fees | Towanda Daily Review | August 11, 2017 | Photo courtesy Brian Fees
Earlier this summer a new group came out with an all-state softball list, leaving many of the state's best players off. Now, the Pennsylvania High School Softball Coaches' Association has come out with their list for the seventh straight year.
The list is considered the official all-state list in the state and accepts nominations from coaches and media members, with over 400 people contacted for the list.
In AAA both Wellsboro's Alyssa Yungwirth and North Penn-Liberty's Savanah Doney earned first-team all-state honors. Yungwirth made it as a pitcher and Doney as a designated player.
Athens' Emma Adams was a first-team designated player in AAAA and in Class A Northeast Bradford's Katie Boardman was a first-team first baseman, while Canton's Brooke Ward was a first-team designated player. Williamson's Kendra Colegrove was a first-team catcher in AA.
In AA Wyalusing's Kyleigh Ward was a second-team pick as a pitcher and Gabby Slater was a second-team pick as a designated player in A.
For Boardman the honor, along with the district title the team won this year, was a nice way to cap her career.
"It's a good feeling, definitely," she said. "It would have been nice to go further in states, but capturing the district title and making all-state was a great way to end it. I was happy with the way things ended."
Over the past few years Boardman has been NTL and All-Region Defensive Player of the Year, and all-state for her work at first base, a position she knows doesn't usually get a lot of credit for defense.
"Usually you don't see a lot of girls hit to the other side of the field," Boardman said. "You don't see that much at first base. It's cool to be recognized there. It's a great honor."
Boardman hopes that what she and Slater accomplished will help some of the younger girls see what can happen.
"I remember when I was in seventh and eighth grade, seeing how far the high school girls were going," Boardman said. "I couldn't wait until I got to the high school level. It's definitely something exciting for other girls to strive for. It helps them set goals. As long as they play their hardest and do what you can do. It was a nice way to go out getting the district title and everything."
When Boardman started in softball she never imagined she'd end her high school career being named first-team all-state.
"I started playing when I was four," she said. "I played like 14 years. It was something I never really thought of. Kind of when I got to high school it was, but not really that much. I took it game-by-game, I wanted to win the game and have fun doing it."
While Yungwirth had made all-state each of her first two years in high school, this is her first time being named first team.
"It's always nice to be named for any type of honor in softball, but first-team is something I have strived for since freshman year," Yungwirth said. "It really is special and shows how hard my teammates and I have worked this year. You just can't get such an award without an amazing catcher who knows what pitches to call and amazing teammates that you can trust behind you and amazing coaches who always encourage us to do our best."
Yungwirth hopes that the honor can only help her and her teammates in the future.
"I think receiving this honor shows the younger girls that it can be done, and it's not just an award for girls that play in bigger areas," Yungwirth said. "But, for girls who put in the time and effort to excel on the field. I think our softball team as well as our fans were a little surprised at how great we played this year and I think it motivates us all to work harder and put in more effort to make it to another district final."
For Adams it's special earning all-state honors again.
"I am very grateful to earn all-state honors for the second year in a row," Adams said. "I think it's very special for me to get this honor again. I've worked very hard to improve from second team last year and my hard work paid off. It's also very nice after all the confusion with the list to see other girls from the NTL, who are much deserving, also on the list."
For Adams the hope is that other girls at Athens are able to earn the same honor in the near future.
"I hope that other girls on my team realize that if you work hard enough it will eventually pay off, something like this honor isn't just handed to you," Adams said. "It is always nice to hear about the list coming out at the end of the summer because I start to get excited for school ball again. I also would like to thank my family, my teammates and my coaches for helping me get a special award like this. I couldn't do it without them."
For Colegrove the goal for a few years was to eventually earn first-team honors.
"It feels pretty good, I have worked really hard to get first team," she said. "It feels good that my hard work paid off. It felt really good the last couple years, I was really close to getting first team. To get it my senior year was really nice."
Colegrove will be playing softball at Pittsburgh at Bradford and she knows that an honor like this will only help her going into college.
"It definitely is (a confidence boost)," Colegrove said. "I know it will be tough transferring to college and making the team. It definitely gave me a boost of confidence."
Colegrove knows Williamson doesn't get a ton of credit, so she's happy to earn the honor and show that Williamson does produce good athletes.
"Williamson doesn't get a lot of credit for their sports," she said. "Showing people the athletes of Williamson can get recognition is nice. There are a lot of younger girls coming up that are just as good so they deserve the same recognition."
For Colegrove being first team hasn't sunk in yet.
"Not really, I am really excited about it," she said. "I am trying to stay humble and keep working hard for college and showing these other girls they can do it."
The honor was the perfect way for Ward to have her career end.
"It is very cool to be first team all-state," Ward said. "It's sort of nice to feel that my hard work throughout the season has been recognized. It is a very nice way to finish off my high school career. One of the last things I did at Canton was get recognized at one of the highest levels. That is pretty cool to me."
With a lot of young girls on the Warriors roster, Ward hopes this gets some of them to strive for the same type of honors.
"I think this really could inspire some of the younger girls to work harder," Ward said. "I think it could show them that even though we are from a very small town that some people have never even heard of, and even though we may not always do the best as a whole team, if you still work hard you can accomplish big things and be recognized."
For Ward the honor caps a special year in which she made first-team all-state in softball and soccer.
"I was shocked just to make the all-state team in one sport," she said. "So making it in two is something I never even imagined would happen. Although, like I said before, it is so cool to be recognized at the state level, but those teams and titles aren't what I strive for. They aren't the reason I play sports. I play because I enjoy them. I show up to each game and do my best and have fun. I'm not worried about what NTL or all-region or all-state team I'm going to make. Don't get me wrong though, I am still so grateful to be recognized."
For Doney it was a big jump from honorable mention to first-team in all-state.
"It feels absolutely amazing to be able to earn this honor," Doney said. "I worked hard this year, and it feels good to know that the work paid off.
"All-state has always been a goal of mine and to be able to achieve it again feels great. But, I wouldn't have been able to do it without my teammates and my coaches."
Doney knows that any of this comes because of the success of the team.
"I think that this goes to show that you are capable of anything you set your mind to, as long as you're willing to work hard," she said. "I love working with younger girls who love the sport, and I love seeing them strive to get better. It's great to be able to see girls learn that this sport isn't just about one player. It's about the whole team and trusting one another to get the job done."
The honor is a special one for Doney.
"This definitely gives me more motivation for next year," she said. "Being able to achieve this goal again makes me want to strive even harder to make myself better. I am thankful to be able to have earned this honor. If it weren't for my teammates and coaches, as well as my family, none of this would be possible."