Student athletes hail from throughout state
The Western Nevada College softball team will be enhanced next season by a number of top Nevada high school student-athletes. Incoming freshmen are from northern Nevada as well as Las Vegas high schools.
Interim head coach Leah Wentworth said the newcomers provide depth as well as additional talent for the team, which completed its first season this year.
New pitchers include Cassie Vondrak from Carson High School and Elisa Dawson from Clark High School, Las Vegas. Wentworth said, "Vondrak and Dawson will likely be instant contributors on the mound for us. Vondrak is throwing in the mid to low 60's and has the potential to compete at the Division I level. Dawson is coming off an undefeated record. Both pitchers have good movement and velocity and will be power hitters at the plate. It will be hard to keep their bats out of the lineup when they are not on the mound."
Jennifer Watkins from Centennial High in Las Vegas will also help on the mound. The state championship pitcher has great control and discipline, and throws batters off with a variety of pitches that have great movement in all zones, Wentworth said.
A duo from Fernley High is also expected to make an impact. Nikole Whitney plays outfield, and Severeana Johnson is a catcher. "Johnson and Whitney are power hitters with good bat control. Combined, they had 73 RBI's last season and are sure to help us drive runs across the plate. Defensively, both athletes are about as good as it gets. Johnson's strong arm and quick release from behind the plate will keep runners honest on the base paths, and Whitney will help to strengthen our outfield.
Ashley Hall is a pitcher who also played third base for Durango High School in Las Vegas. "Hall is a great all-around athlete with a dangerous bat," the coach said. "She can play any position on the field and will also find some time on the mound."
Rounding out the Western's second recruiting class is Melissa McKinnon, outfielder, of Lowry High in Winnemucca, and Paige Savage, infielder, of Cimarron-Memorial High, Las Vegas.
"McKinnon and Savage are both switch hitters that we will convert to the left side," Wentworth said. "They both have good bat control and their speed will pose a threat on the base paths. Both can play infield and outfield, and will have a big impact both offensively and defensively."
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