Lauren Schutter | sports editor
Senior Kara Hafenstine signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Ottawa University in a celebration Wednesday at WHS.
Hefenstine said she looks forward to this new chapter in her life, while teammates and coaches of both traveling ball and high school softball reminisced on their times with her.
“Having Kara as a teammate and also a friend is one of the best things ever. She is a great leader and role model to younger girls, and encourages her teammates each day to strive for more,” teammate and friend Madisyn Havenstein said.
Joe Dee Tarbutton, the high school softball coach, opened up the ceremony congratulating Kara in the classroom as well as the field. “She’s a 4.0 student — has been since junior high. She’s the president of FCCLA and is a member of NHS.” Tarbutton was joined by assistant softball coach Garret Eck and her long-time traveling coach Jody Mitchell.
Eck gave respect to her weight room improvements, saying, “She’s grown a ton in the weight room, also just seeing you on the court and the field. Everyone can see that she’s a great leader out there.”
Jody Mitchell, her traveling softball coach from Kansas Crush for the past 9 years, recalled when he first saw Kara play at 8 years old. “She was knocking the cover off the ball, throwing the ball all the way across the field, and I looked at my assistant and said, ‘We’ve gotta have her.”
From a young talent to a college signee, Kara will continue doing big things.
“I’m so excited to continue playing softball at Ottawa, and I just want to thank my family and coaches for helping me get to where I am today,” Hafenstine said.