12 NTL softball players earn All-State honors
It was a successful year for area softball teams and with that success comes plenty of awards.
This year 12 NTL softball players brought home All-State honors, including four from Northeast Bradford and two each from Wyalusing, Towanda and Wellsboro. Troy and Athens also had All-State selections this year.
In Class A pitcher Chelsie Souto and outfielder Maddy Johnson each earned first-team honors, while teammates Calla Johnson and MaKaylah Holbert were second-team selections.
"It feels really good," Souto said. "I have worked really hard for it, I am really honored to be chosen on the team."
Maddy Johnson was happy to see all her hard work pay off.
"It feels really good because I worked hard over the years and it feels good to accomplish," she said.
For four Northeast Bradford players to make the list is special for all of them.
"They worked hard and I am glad to be teammates with them," Souto said.
"That feels really good, it shows how hard we work together for all four of us to be on the All-State team," Maddy Johnson said.
For Holbert it was special to make it as a senior, but more special to share it with her teammates.
"It feels really good to be able to do that, especially my senior year," Holbert said. "Three other girls also made it and it makes me feel good knowing we did that as a team."
All of the Panthers players know the team success played a big role in these honors.
"I think that it was really important and it helped me out a lot," Souto said of making it to the state semifinals. "We got to see more teams and more coaches and my team helped me out a lot. I am glad I had the team I had."
"You can't do anything alone, especially with softball," Holbert said. "Without my team, I couldn't have got this far. Ending was bitter sweet, but knowing we made it that far helped me let go of it."
For Calla and Maddy Johnson, the two are step-sisters, and it's nice for them to be able to each make the list.
"It feels really good, we both work really well together and I'm happy to share this with her," Maddy Johnson said.
Holbert plays third base and Calla plays next to her at shortstop and after the two have worked together for years, they are happy to be on the list together.
"There is a good friendship between a shortstop and a third baseman," Holbert said. "We work well together and it was good to know we both made second team and that we both did it together."
While Holbert graduates the other three will return next year and they know these honors will only help motivate them more.
"It is really nice, we are losing MaKaylah unfortunately, but we have a lot of the same girls back and we hope to go as far next year," Souto said. "It does kind of set a bar that hopefully I can reach again next year. I hope we have another good season as a team and I can work hard again next year to get that goal."
Maddy Johnson knows that she will be expected to be a leader next year and she thinks this honor helps with that.
"It is going to help me a lot," she said. "Everyone is going to be expecting a lot from me the next couple of years and I am hoping to show what I can do with that pressure. Everyone, I am going to assume, is going to know I'm going to be a leader and make good choices for the team and lead off as the first batter and hopefully get everything started."
Maddy Johnson hopes these honors push the younger kids to want to achieve the same things.
"I think they are going to work very hard and especially with all of them coming up we know we will have a JV team next year and they will be practicing with us and we can give them reminders and tips so that they can be All-State with us."
Holbert thinks this honor will give her more confidence as she continues her softball career in college at Lock Haven.
"It definitely helps me relax," she said. "I know I am going to be bigger level, but this helps me to relax and know I can play with them."
None of the girls expected something like this to happen in their career.
"I hoped for it, I worked for it, I am glad that I got there, but I never saw it coming," Holbert said.
"I never imagined, I was hoping just to make a state team and hoping we would have a team that did as good as we did, but I never imagined this," Souto said.
Northeast Bradford coach Gary Hennip knows his players deserve these honors.
"It's wonderful that they have this opportunity to make an All-State team," he said. "All four of the kids, they really were the leaders of our team this year. Madison and Chelsie both had terrific years for us.
"MaKaylah, it's nice to see her senior year get this and she had a very good year. Calla, I think she had one of the most outstanding defensive years that I have ever seen from NTL kids. She has always been known as an offensive player, but I thought she had a terrific defensive year."
Athens senior Christin Dunkling wrapped up her career at Athens with a first-team selection in Class AAA.
In Class AA, Wellsboro's Maggie Smith, Troy's Kelly Bridgham, Towanda's Koryn Wickwire and Wyalusing's Ally DeVoir all earned second-team honors.
Towanda's Alaina Wickwire, Wyalusing's Kasey DeVoir and Wellsboro's Sarah Ingerick all earned honorable mention spots in Class AA.
The AA list includes a set of twins as Kasey and Ally DeVoir both made it as sophomores.
Maggie Smith never imagined she would receive an honor like this in her career.
"It is such an honor," she said. "I never expected that and to be recognized for that."
Smith is happy that her and Ingerick were able to gain a little recognition for their schools.
"I am especially honored to be able to represent Wellsboro," she said.
Smith, who will be a senior, knows this might put a little added pressure on her next season.
"I think so, maybe a little more pressure," she said.
For Smith it's the perfect way to finish her year.
"It's such a great way to end such a great season," she said.
Towanda coach Bryan Fuller was happy to see his two players earn the honors.
"They are quality ball players," he said. "It's very nice to get the program recognized like that, for two kids to become All-State."
Fuller hopes that these honors will motivate Towanda's younger players.
"I am hoping that it rubs off on the young kids and the young kids recognize with some work and getting out and play some softball they to can make the all-state team," he said.