NEB's Holbert signs to play softball at Lock Haven
LERAYSVILLE - For most heading off to college, playing Division II softball at a school like Lock Haven would be a scary time and a huge adjustment.
However, for Northeast Bradford senior MaKaylah Holbert that adjustment will likely be a little bit easier next season.
The Panthers star will have to adjust to the college game and college life, but she will have some familiar faces going through the experience with her.
Three of her teammates this past summer on the Diamond Dusters are set to be her teammates again next year at Lock Haven.
"I heard from a lot of friends about Lock Haven," Holbert said. "A lot of kids from my travel team talked about it and I went down and visited it and it was really good."
One of those travel teammates, Canton's Morgan Palmer, is a freshman at the school this year.
"We have been messaging back and fourth," Holbert said of Palmer. "She has been telling me how it is and how much she likes it, so I am sure I will like it."
And, two other Dusters teammates, Union-Endicott's Rachel Mouillesseaux and Blue Ridge's Jenna Rupakus, are also set to play for Lock Haven next year.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Holbert said. "I will already know some of the girls and I will be more comfortable with my teammates."
Holbert also already has a roommmate for next year as she will room with Rupakus.
"It's going to be really exciting to have Jenna as a roommate," Holbert said. "It is nice because we have the same schedules and that makes things a lot easier."
For Holbert her versatility and speed are things that the college coaches liked and something they will take advantage of next year.
"They are looking for middle infielders and they may need help in the outfield and with my speed they think I can help there," Holbert said. "It helps that I am able to play other spots and being fast helps."
For Holbert, Lock Haven seemed like the perfect fit as she will be playing for a school that has won a national title in the past 10 years.
"It's great to play for a softball team that is that good," Holbert said.
And, Lock Haven also had the academic programs she wanted as she plans to study secondary education, special education and social studies.
"They had a really good education program," she said.
Another fun part for Holbert will be playing in the PSAC.
"I know a lot of the girls on the Mansfield team like (former NEB teammate) Nicki (Emick)," Holbert said.
While it will be fun for her to see some familiar faces, it's going to be a little different for Holbert to face her former teammate.
"It's going to be strange, but be fun to play against each other," Holbert said.
When Lock Haven plays Mansfield next year there could be six players from the NTL in the game, and for Holbert that says something about the league.
"It's going to be pretty cool with all of us from this area playing," she said.
For Holbert it was watching her former teammates like Emick sign to play college softball that helped make her start thinking of this moment.
"When I saw Nicki sign, she's a good family friend, so that really made me think about it," Holbert said. "I was always hoping I would be able to sign one day."
And, it was her Dusters coach, Bill Hampton, who let her know one day that this moment might become a possibility.
"My travel coach kind of told me, you know you are good," she said. "It gave me confidence and I practiced more and I was able to get this offer."
Now, Holbert can enjoy her senior year without having to worry about trying to get signed by a college.
"It's a big relief to have everything chosen," she said. "I still have to play well when they come to watch, but it's nice."
For Holbert things might be a little different this high school season as she will be one of the seniors this year.
"I'm a little nervous," she said. "It's going to be fun, but I'm a little nervous."
And, when the summer ends and she leaves her Dusters team behind, it won't be quite as hard knowing she will see so many of those faces in college.
"It won't be as tough because I know I am not leaving all of them," Holbert said.