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Spanish Springs athletes announce college plans
by Nathan Shoup
Nov 13, 2013 | 1594 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - (From left to right) Alyx Penrod, Gabby Szachara, Hannah Woytek, Holli Smith and Kelsie Merritt gather after each signed their letters of intent Wednesday afternoon.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - (From left to right) Alyx Penrod, Gabby Szachara, Hannah Woytek, Holli Smith and Kelsie Merritt gather after each signed their letters of intent Wednesday afternoon.
Gabby Szachara highlighted a Spanish Springs quintuplet of athletes who signed their national letters of intent Wednesday afternoon at Spanish Springs High.

The five athletes signed at a table in front approximately 150 family members, friends and media.

Szachara, a middle blocker on the Cougars volleyball team that won its third straight High Desert League title this fall, will take her talents across town to the University of Nevada.

"It's awesome," Szachara said. "I couldn't ask for anything better than to play Div. I in my own hometown. It's exciting."

Once the Wolf Pack showed interest in the middle blocker her junior year, she did not consider any other schools. She said she chose Nevada because of its proximity to home and because "it's just a great school."

Szachara sad she wants to study in the medical field.

•Hannah Woytek, the Cougars' point guard, signed to play at Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, Calif. The Argonauts are a NCAA Div. II affiliate.

"It's exciting," Woytek said. "I think I can play at that level and I'm excited to see where I go."

Woytek's decision came between Notre Dame de Namur and San Diego Christian College, which also offered her, but she chose to become an Argonaut because it "fit better."

"It just felt right," Woytek said.

The senior point guard plans to study kinesiology.

•Alyx Penrod, a middle infielder on Spanish Springs' softball team, will continue her career at Black Hills State University.

The Spearfish are a NCAA Div. II affiliate located in Spearfish, South Dakota.

"I feel really accomplished," Penrod said. "It's everything I have worked for and finally all this hard work is paying off."

Penrod admitted when the South Dakota school first showed interest, the idea of moving to the Heartland seemed "far fetched," but she "fell in love" with the school after visiting.

The infamous South Dakota winters did not scare her off saying the Reno winters have given her tough skin.

Penrod plans to study exercise science.

•Kelsie Merritt, Penrod's teammate, signed to play softball at Concordia University - Portland.

The Cavaliers' are a NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) university.

"This has always been my dream, to play college softball," Merritt said. "It's kind of a big deal for me."

Merritt was lured to the Portland school by her sister, Karlie, who will be a sophomore on the Cavs' softball team next season.

"I started my softball career with her (Karlie) and getting to end with her is going to be just the cherry on top of everything," Merritt said.

In addition to playing with her sister, Merritt was drawn to the school by head coach Carrie Kosderka-Farrell. Concoria - Portland's newest committ said the Cavs' coach reminds her of her travel coach.

Merritt plans to double major in athletic training and physical therapy.

•Hollie Brown, the Cougars' first baseman, was the third Spanish Springs softball player to join a collegiate roster, Wednesday.

Brown signed with Feather River College, a junior college in Quincy, Calif.

"It's a relief," Brown said. "It's a relief because it's something I have been working for since I was 8 years old. The day has finally come."

After visiting the campus, Brown did not conceder going anywhere else.

"When I went up there the girls were great and the coach is amazing," Brown said.

The newest Golden Eagle plans to study early childhood development at Feather River before transferring to a university and getting her degree in teaching.
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