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Chandler signs her National Letter of Intent to play softball for New Mexico State University on Thursday at Piedra Vista High School. She is joined at the table by her father Mike and mother Holly. In the back row is PV head coach Kevin Werth (right) and assistant coach Frank Whalen.
New Mexico State University will soon be home for another Piedra Vista softball star.
Susie Chandler signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Aggies on Thursday, joining 2010 PV graduate and NMSU pitcher Karysta Donisthorpe on the roster.
“NMSU has a very structured program. There is a curfew for freshman and it helps create really good study habits. It is a good fit,” Chandler said. “And, our star pitcher goes there, too.”
The idea of playing alongside Donisthorpe again was a major influence on Chandler’s decision to head to Las Cruces, she said.
“She loves it there. Playing with her again and the comfort of knowing someone on the team definitely contributed,” Chandler said.
Chandler is the third PV player to sign with the program. Valerie Kloberdanz signed with the Aggies in 2008.
“We have kind of forged a good relationship with NMSU, head coach Kathy Rodolph and associated head coach Catherine Heifner,” said PV head coach Kevin Werth. “Rodolph understands the program we have and knows that when our girls go down there, they won’t be shocked with anything they do. It is a good fit.”
Chandler has played on the varsity level since eighth grade — winning four 4A state championships already going into her senior season — and credited the hard work of her coaches for her and the team’s success.
“It has been more than special. It has been an honor to be coached by our staff. It is crazy to think about not being in the program because it is all I have known and it is all I have been,” she said.
A strong defensive short stop, Chandler hopes to work her way into the lineup as quickly as she can.
“I am going to work extremely hard and try to earn a spot,” she said. “It would be hard to sit, but if I work hard enough I think things will fall into place where they need to be.”
Chandler, who idolizes the play of Derek Jeter, brings great leadership skills to the field that Werth believes will carry over to the next level.
“Our team goes as Susie goes,” Werth said. “We feed off her. She is a good leader for us and she has taken even more of a leadership role as a senior this year.”
After her sophomore season, Chandler had knee surgery that kept her out of action for the summer. Werth said it was impressive to watch her bounce back from a summer of rehab to her stellar all-state season as a junior.
“It is a testament to the kid. She has overcome a lot of adversity,” Werth said. “She came back after knee surgery and had a great season. She has had to jump some hurdles and break down some walls to get where she is. She is pretty amazing.”
Chandler considered attending Akron university in Ohio, but was happy to stay instate where her parents, Mike and Holly Chandler, can easily attend games.
Chandler plans on studying Kinesiology for four years before attending Sonography school.
“Working hard in the class room in high school definitely pays off,” chandler said. “Being pushed by my parents, coaches and teachers made me work hard in the classroom and on the field, and that is what has gotten me here.”