WNCC’s Sarah Hawryluk signs with Iowa State University
     2012-06-20      By The Gering Citizen   
Hawrlyuk, who leaves WNCC as the season and career stolen base leader, wanted a school that was similar to WNCC. When she visited the Big 12 school in Ames, Iowa, she fell in love.

"When choosing my new school, I was looking for that 'feeling' I found when I first arrived in Scottsbluff," she said. "I was looking for the hometown feeling, somewhere where I could see myself making a second home for myself. Not only did I have the warm feeling when I visited Iowa, I genuinely fell in love with the program.
Everything the softball team and the coaching staff believe in is what I want to be a part of. Ultimately, it just felt right and that was my deciding factor."

Hawryluk is the fifth of the six sophomores off of this past season's Region IX championship team that went 45-26 to sign with four-year schools. The other sophomores that inked include Aria Agle to BYU-Hawaii, Amanda Jones to Glenville State University (West Virginia), Mariah Faifer to the University of the Southwest (New Mexico), and Jocelyn Stubbs to Chadron State College.

Hawryluk, however, is the only one that is headed to the Division I level and she is excited to be stepping up to the next level. Hawrlyuk said she is not afraid of the challenges of facing a Oklahoma pitching staff that finished runner-up at the NCAA softball championships to Alabama last month.

"I am excited and nervous at the same time. It is a huge step for me but I am ready to take on a new challenge and really see how far I can push myself," she said. "When speaking with Coach [Jamie] Pinkerton (Iowa State Assistant coach) he asked me how I felt facing big name pitchers such as some of the girls from Oklahoma, and when I responded with, 'who is that?' He laughed and said ignorance is bliss. So I might not know fully what to expect when I step on the field for the first time but it makes me that much more excited to see what is in store for me."

Hawryluk is expected to via for an outfield position, but really is open to helping out the team in any way she can.
"Coach G [Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler} has informed me that in their past season, she did not have a set outfield and it changed almost every game," she said. "She said that she expects me to come in and demand a position, as all newcomers should. She said that this is a great year for outfielders to come in because there is so much opportunity to earn a spot. Along with the outfield, I will be expected to put the ball in play and run, just as Coach Winn has always asked."

Hawryluk's success on the field was spectacular. The Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, native came to WNCC and molded her game into one of delight. Last season she batted .382 with 82 singles, 66 runs scored and 79 stolen bases. The 79 stolen bases is a school record for a season. She also holds the record for career stolen bases with 124. Hawryluk finished her career with a career batting average of .408. She also holds the school record for career singles with 153 and is third in career runs scored with 123.

"I was a completely different player coming into WNCC than what I was when I left," she said. "These records mean a lot to me because it shows that hard work does pay off. It is also nice to know that these records are not only for me as an individual, but each personal record from all members on the roster has a positive impact on the rest of the team. The singles record, for example, is beneficial because it helped the team in close games, and my stolen base records is beneficial because it helped hitters drive someone in more often. In the end, it is all for the outcome of the games, and that means a lot to me."

Hawryluk, who was also looking at the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Texas at San Antonio, said it feels great that all six of the sophomores will be continuing their education at the four-year level.

"It is great to know that our sophomores are going on to pursue softball at a higher level," she said. "I believe it shows a lot for Coach Winn in that she develops her players in two years to be able to go onto a different school and be wanted because of their skills and experience gained from the program at WNCC."

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