4 FOR THE ROAD

They are breaking up the ol’ gang at St. Mary’s High School, scattering the core of last year’s state 5A runner-up softball team to far-flung parts of the country.

Four players from the Knights’ softball team were awarded scholarships to various colleges following a highly-successful 2005 season that ended with a loss in the state championship game to Tucson’s Canyon del Oro High School. They were part of a very productive group of players during their four years at St. Mary’s, as it was the first time the school had been to the softball state championships and, in 2003, they helped the Knights reach the region championships for the first time.

Analise Rubalcava turned a softball career that began at age seven into a scholarship to the University of Mexico, a Hispanic Serving Institution. “I’m very excited to be attending UNM in Albuquerque since it’s a city that is rich in culture, which supports my major, and especially because I’m close to home

and my family; my friends can come to my games in Albuquerque, San Diego, and Las Vegas,” say the utility player who played third, second, shortstop, and the outfield for St. Mary’s.

“I highly encourage young Latina the University of Miami at Ohio.

Garland, who also got started on the game at age nine, played second base and the outfield for the Knights and graduated with honors. She was named to the Desert Valley Region 1st team and was honorable mention athletes to play the sport they love, but also keep up their grades,” she offers as advice to those coming behind her. In addition to graduating with first honors, she was named to the Desert Valley Region 1st team and Arizona Republic All-State 1st team. Rubalcava will pursue a degree in interior design, architecture.

Danielle (Dani) Gonzales won’t be so close to home, since she decided to accept a scholarship offer from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But she points out that, “My parents are excited to be able to visit me and for us all to get to know the eastern part of the country.” A softball player since age nine, Gonzales pitched, played first base, and roamed the outfield while at St. Mary’s. She was named to the Arizona Republic All-Arizona Team, All-State 1st team, and Desert Valley Region 1st team.

“I’ve heard so many wonderful things about St. Joseph’s and I know I’ll get a great education here,” she says. Her major is nursing. Ashley Garland finds herself in the Buckeye state, as she decided on Arizona Republic All-State.

“Miami of Ohio has a strong and competitive softball program and equally competitive Psychology (her major) curriculum,” she says in explaining her choice. “I’m (also) fortunate to have family close by to visit during breaks and game schedules.”

Brittany Anderson is at ‘the other Miami’ – the one with more sun, having accepted an offer from Barry University at Miami, Florida. After graduating St. Mary’s with honors, she found a number of things she liked at Barry: “I’m very happy to continue my education at a private institution sharing my same values, but to also be a member of a team with great camaraderie and coaching staff.”

Anderson, who plays catcher, shortstop and second base, was a Desert Valley Region 1st selection last year, and got an honorable mention nod for Arizona Republic All- State honors.

Another selling point for Barry University, where she will major in Physical Education, Administration: “I have family in Florida, so that makes it nice for support.”