May named state player of the year; Waverly's Bowman, ND's Clark also make All-State
Waverly and Notre Dame each finished up their softball seasons in the sectional finals this year.
With the success the teams had, the accolades have come pouring in and on Thursday both schools had players earn all-state honors.
Notre Dame's Olivia May, of Ridgebury, was named the Class C State Player of the Year.
It is the second time May has earned that honor. The senior also earned the honor as a sophomore when she helped guide the Crusaders to a state title.
May's teammate, freshman Alivia Clark, earned fourth-team honors in Class C, while Waverly's Sabrina Bowman earned fifth-team honors in Class B.
For Bowman it is the second straight sport in which she earned the honor, as a senior, who will play basketball at Cortland next year, also earned All-state accolades in basketball.
"I wouldn't want to go out any other way," she said. "I would say I went out pretty strong."
Bowman, who hit .493 with 33 runs scored, 23 RBI and seven home runs for the Wolverines, becomes the first Waverly player in the time that coach Jackie Robinson has been involved with coaching the program.
"It's amazing, it's huge for someone from Waverly to make it to All-State," Robinson said. "I don't think I've ever heard of anyone making All-State."
Bowman was honored to be able to get the recognition.
"I played with some really good people for four years on varsity and never heard of anyone from the area getting All-State honors," she said.
For Robinson it is special seeing Bowman achieve this honor as she coached her all the way through school, moving up to varsity coach the same time started playing varsity.
"Sabrina is a phenomenal athlete," Robinson said. "I have been her only softball coach, I have had her since eighth grade and it's an honor to see her grow."
Bowman knows that having Robinson as a coach helped her.
"It definitely helps," she said. "We have had a really strong relationship through the years. I started with her in eighth grade on JV and when she moved up to varsity, I moved up to varsity."
Robinson has been happy with the growth of the program over the past few years.
"For us to even get as far as we have gotten the last couple years, to have the great athletes we have had is great," she said. "You can't do it without the team and the girls who have played. There are so many strong athletes, and at least half the team focuses primarily on softball."
Bowman knows the success the team had helped her earn the recognition.
"We had a really good season with Sammy (Mennig) pitching, she did a really good job," Bowman said. "The team definitely got me to where I was."
After seeing Bowman achieve this honor Robinson thinks it is something that the younger girls will work to achieve now and she hopes that it becomes common to see Waverly players earn the honor.
"I think it will be a huge goal for the girls on my team, especially the girls that are really softball focused," she said. "Sammy Mennig and Kiana (Manuel) and those girls, I think it will be a huge goal for them next year. I would love to see this (kids make all-state) year to year."
Bowman believes that some of those young players can achieve the same things.
"I hope they do get it, it's good recognition," she said. "They work really hard at it. Kiana, Sam and Megan (Wilbur) and a bunch of those guys play in the summer."
For Bowman it's a bit of a surprise that she had the success she did, since she focuses more on basketball.
"I was surprised with how well I actually did in softball," she said. "I played basketball all year round, so I didn't really expect that."
For May, the state player of the year honor comes after helping to lead a young Notre Dame team to the IAC title and the Class C Sectional final.
May was 17-1 on the mound with a .57 ERA and 215 strikeouts against 21 walks in 111 1/3 innings.
At the plate she hit .635 with 48 runs scored, 37 RBI, 12 home runs, 13 doubles and 15 stolen bases.
May also broke the school's career record for home runs this season.
May was one of just three returning players for Notre Dame, one of the other two was Clark, who as a freshman this season hit .415 with 37 runs scored, 31 RBI, four home runs, eight doubles and 13 stolen bases. She also pitched 33 2/3 innings, with a .21 ERA and a 4-0 record, striking out 62 against five walks.
"I am glad to know that my hard work is paying off to make it when I'm a freshman," Clark said.
Watching May, and last year's graduates including All-American Sydney Dimon, Clark was hoping to one day earn some of the same type of honors and now she is starting to achieve those goals.
"I really looked up to them in playing and all the honors they got and I definitely wanted to be in their shoes," she said. "I would love to have the honors they got. They are role models I look up to."
For Clark there was no doubt May was the state's best player.
"I am ecstatic for her, I am so glad she got it, she deserves it 100%," Clark said. "She's amazing, not just an amazing player, but an amazing person."
One of the things that Clark has learned most from watching May is how to respond if you do struggle.
"She is just a wonderful player and she always works hard," Clark said. "If she does have one bad game, she always did better the next game. I think she got better every single game. She never got down on herself."
After looking up to May and the other players before her, Clark knows some of the younger players will likely be looking up to her.
"Mackenzie Maloney and I both look up to Live a lot and I think the younger kids will look up to us as well since we are the older kids coming back, even only being a sophomore and a freshman (Maloney next year)," Clark said.
Clark also thinks that when the younger kids see what she accomplished this year, they will set the same goals for themselves.
"Being so young and getting to be on the all-state team, I think it sets goals for them," she said. "They will see I did it as a freshman and think I am going to do it to."
While she is just going into her sophomore year Clark is starting to think about playing college softball and she knows all these honors help.
"I just came back from New Jersey yesterday, we went to a camp down there, and I want to go to college and play softball and this really helps getting my name out there. These honors are really good for your resume and stuff."
While Clark is now an All-State player, she has always looked up to May, and now she will try and accomplish some of the same things May did at Notre Dame, including being a state player of the year.
She knows there is a lot of pressure now, but she feels like she is ready for it.
"I will always work for it, it's (state player of the year) always going to be something out there, it's definitely one of the things I would love to get," Clark said. "I have a little bit of pressure on me, to fill the shoes of pitching will be hard. But, I will be fine. Since I will be a sophomore next year and I have been around three or four years, I won't be as nervous as I was."