Three local girls ink letters of intent
Nikki Begay, Kiara Holmes and Alyssa Wilson to continue athletic careers in college
FARMINGTON — Kirtland Central's Nikki Begay, Shiprock's Kiana Holmes and Navajo Prep's Alyssa Wilson each recently signed a letter of intent to continue their athletic career at the collegiate level.
Begay, a two-sport standout for the Lady Broncos, signed with Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., accepting a scholarship to play softball for the Lady Thunderbirds after a short highlight video her cousin Shaycie Atene posted on YouTube caught the attention of MCC coach Grady Moorhead.
"He emailed us and asked if I wanted to come down to Mesa for a visit," Begay said. "When I went down there, I saw how he coached and how honest and up front he was with us. I really liked that."
Begay spent most of her time as the starting catcher for the Lady Broncos while also seeing some time at different positions in the infield. She posted a .317 batting average during her senior season.
She was also one of the top goal scorers on the soccer field and earned a first team All-District selection for District 1-5A during her senior season. Begay said she's interested in trying out for MCC's women's soccer team if she can find a balance between school, softball and soccer.
Begay plans to major in elementary education.
Holmes joins first VB team in AIC history
Shiprock's Kiara Holmes will be a part of history at SAGU American Indian College in Phoenix, joining the Lady Warriors' volleyball team for the first season in school history after signing a letter of intent last week.
The scholarship offer from the Lady Warrriors came as a bit of a surprise for Holmes, an outside hitter, who hadn't received any other offers.
"It was all a blur to me and a surprise to me that I got a scholarship offer from them," Holmes said. "I knew that I wanted to play sports and keep going to school, so it was the best option for me."
Holmes said Shiprock coach Teri Atcitty referred her to the Lady Warriors' coaching staff. Just before graduation night at Shiprock High, she received the scholarship offer.
The Lady Warriors list six players on their roster, with Holmes joining Newcomb's Michelle Barber, Sheninah George and Jaylencia John on the team.
Atcitty said Holmes, a two-year varsity player for the Lady Chieftains, made a big impact during her senior season, stepping up as a leader for the team.
Holmes said she's nervous about going so far from home to attend college, worrying as much about how her family will adjust to her absence as much as how the adjustments from life away from home will impact her.
"I have a lot of support from my grandparents, and going out there is going to make it a lot harder on them because I'm usually here helping them around the house. But I know they're proud of me and want me to succeed," Holmes said.
Drawing from her experience helping her grandparents, Holmes plans to major in nursing at SAGU American Indian College.
Wilson lands with McPherson College
After a tumultuous couple of years plagued by injuries, Navajo Prep's Alyssa Wilson earned a chance to keep her running career alive and signed with McPherson College for cross-country.
Wilson's athletic career at Prep was limited by an array of nagging leg and ankle injuries over her sophomore and junior years. While Wilson signed with McPherson for cross-country, she's hopeful she can earn a spot on the school's women's track team in the fall.
Wilson said part of what drew her to McPherson, which is in McPherson, Kan., and competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, is the size of the school.
"For me, I've never been to a big school where I'm just a number. Being at Prep, teachers knew me by my name," Wilson said. "So when I was looking at the education system and heard it's a private college and pretty small, I thought, 'This will fit for me because I've never actually been to a big school."
Prep coach Stephanie Zahne and Wilson, who is originally from Lukachukai, Ariz., both believe Wilson will be able to adjust to college life after living in the dorms at Prep the past few years.
Wilson plans to major in biology with hopes of entering the medical field as an orthopedist after college.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.