Stubbs headed to Chadron State
The Western Nebraska Community College softball team enjoyed plenty of success this past season as they captured their third straight Region IX championship. Because of that success, five of the six Cougar sophomores will be moving on to play softball at the next level.
Sarah Hawryluk is the only one that is headed to the Division I level after signing with Iowa State University. The other four are headed to Division II and NAIA levels. Jocelyn Stubbs is headed just 90 miles north of Scottsbluff after signing with Chadron State College. The other three signed to play in different parts of the United States. Aria Agle is headed to BYU-Hawaii, Amanda Jones is headed to Glenville State University in West Virginia, and Mariah Faifer is headed to the University of The Southwest in New Mexico.
Stubbs, who originally was planning on attending BYU-Hawaii, changed her mind and decided she wanted to stay closer to home. She is excited to be attending Chadron State to finish her playing career. Plus, she has grown to love this area, especially being around her WNCC dorm parents Lance and Shari Rogers.
"I choose to go to Chadron because I believe they have a good program and a good coach that will help me progress in both softball and in school," the Roosevelt, Utah, native said. "The community definitely grew on me. I love how supportive they were of WNCC softball no matter what kind of season we were having. I also loved the dorm parent program, but I think that's because I had terrific dorm parents (Shari and Lance Rogers)."
Stubbs will be following in the footsteps of other WNCC players that have played for the Eagles. Stephanie Townsend and Brittany Chacon, who both graduated this year at CSC, were members of the Cougars. Also, Chelsie Townsend spent one year at WNCC as did Blair McEndaffer. Stubbs said that knowing those players love the Eagle program made the decision much easier for her.
"I feel as if they have set traditions and standards at Chadron as former WNCC players and I am excited to be a part of that," she said. "I have talked with them multiple times about going to school there and after hearing how much they love it I knew I would love it, too."
Stubbs, who was a steady force behind the dish for the Cougars the past two seasons, finished her career with 23 career home runs (second behind Katelyn Groves) and 106 career runs batted in. Stubbs sees herself in the Chadron lineup as an offensive player as well as being a leader.
"I believe my role on the team this next year will be seen more in the batting line up," se said. "I will have to work hard to earn a spot on the field but I think I will be able to come in and make an impact in their hitting rotations."
Just like Stubbs, Agle was also unsure of her decision to play until after the national tournament in May. Agle said she was looking at Whittier College in California, Lesley University in Boston, and Southern Virginia, but decided she wanted the Latter Day Saints experience of attending BYU-Hawaii.
"I wanted to go to BYU-Hawaii because I wanted the LDS environment, I want to help build the program, the school has the major I want to do, and who doesn't want to live in Hawaii?," she said. " am so excited to go play in Hawaii, I really can't wait."
For Agle, she came to WNCC as a pitcher, but in her two seasons for the Cougars, has become one of Region IX's fierce outfielders. And, when she goes to BYU-Hawaii, she will settle in most comfortably in the outfield.
"The coach wants me to stay with my forte of being an outfielder, and I am ready to come fill in that role," she said. "I know the outfield is my strength now, so I am excited to be able to keep playing the position I fell in love with at WNCC."
One of the biggest throws of Agle's season came in the Region IX tournament when she gunned down the go-ahead run in the sixth inning against Trinidad State Junior College. WNCC went on to win the game 1-0 in 10 innings. She said that thrill of making a pin-point throw to Stubbs behind the plate will live forever in her mind.
"My throw against Trinidad was an opportunity I will always remember," she said. "I hope to relive the moment through having more chances to be able to replicate that play. However, I know that circumstances like that won't always come my way, but when they do I'll be ready for them just like I was with Trinidad."
As for the Jones and Faifer, they are also excited to be continuing their playing career.
"I chose the school because it is a bit closer to home, only five and hours away isn't too bad," she said. "I am majoring in biology and they have a really good biology program the coach played against my high school coach, and my high school coach said I would love him and her opinion is important."
Faifer leaves WNCC not only as a fine softball player, but as one of the top academic students. Faifer earned the award for highest GPA from a female student. She said academics come easier to her than softball.
"If I was to be honest, I think softball is harder for me than academics," she said. "It wasn't hard to maintain both, you just have to prioritize correctly and if you can do that, you can excel in both."
Faifer said coming here was a good choice, as she, too, became close to her dorm parents Rudy and Angie Hernandez.
"This has been an experience that I would never trade for anything in the world," she said. "I played for a very good coach and I played for a very good program."
Jones also said that she enjoyed her two years here. She, too, has special bond to her dorm parents Mike and Nancy McKee.
"I will miss the people; they are un-replaceable," she said. "I will remember them, especially Dingus [Mike McKee]. He has made a huge impact. It has been enjoyable having him at all of our games and his support."
Jones, who hails from Las Vegas, is going further away to Gleville State College, a Division II school that is very similar to WNCC in its size.
"Glenville is just a little bit bigger than here with 1,400 students and it is a close community and small-town atmosphere just like here," the Cougar pitcher said. "I really didn't know of the school until the coach contacted Coach Winn and asked about me. I looked into it and it turned out to be a good opportunity for me."
Jones came into her own in the circle this season. Jones finished the season with a 20-10 record with a 2.62 earned run average. Jones struck out 102 batters this season and walked just 46. Jones won her last eight starts in the circle while striking out 23 batters.
All the sophomores have made two straight appearances at the national level and for Stubbs, playing in St. George, Utah, at the national tournament twice is remarkable. The six sophomores leave WNCC with a combined 96-41 record.
"I know that playing in the national tournament once is special but getting the opportunity to play there twice is remarkable," she said. "I am proud to be able to say I got that remarkable opportunity. Playing with and against the best teams in the country was an awesome humbling experience."
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