Thunder Mountain High School senior Maxie Saceda-Hurt will soon be trading her blue-and-black for maroon-and-yellow.
On Sunday, the standout Falcons shortstop signed a national letter of intent to play softball next season at Simpson College, a small liberal arts college in Indianola, Iowa.
The Simpson College Storm compete as an NCAA Division III program in the 10-team Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC).
“As soon as I got onto the campus, it was a place I could see myself going, it’s where I felt at home,” Saceda-Hurt said on Sunday after signing the letter.
The multi-sport star has played a key role in TMHS’ last two state championship-winning seasons. As a junior last season, Saceda-Hurt totaled 34 hits while batting .493.
Still, it took showcasing her talents as a member of the Arctic Storm Fast Pitch team to catch the attention of college coaches. Saceda-Hurt joined the Arctic Storm in 2014 and dedicated several weeks every summer and fall to travel with the team to tournaments in the Lower 48.
It wasn’t until the Arctic Storm — which consists of elite players from all over the state — first invited Saceda-Hurt to join the team that the idea of playing college softball entered her mind.
“When my travel ball team coach contacted me and was like, ‘You are good enough to play in the NCAA division, and we want you to play for us,’ that’s when I had my confidence go up,” Saceda-Hurt said. “I knew that if this is something I really wanted, I could work towards it.”
So that’s what she did.
Second-year TMHS head softball coach Brittany Gladsjo took notice of her strong play and work ethic last season.
Gladsjo said there are a lot of obstacles she had to overcome to land a roster spot on a college team.
“It’s just trying to get out of Alaska to go to tournaments where even college coaches can even see you play,” Gladsjo said. “And then she was willing to go somewhere that was not in the Pacific Northwest, somewhere that’s a little bit farther from home and somewhere that she’s able to focus on being a student as well as playing softball.”
While Saceda-Hurt did not receive an athletic scholarship, she did receive an academic one. The George Washington Carver National Fellowship, dubbed one of the college’s “most prestigious academic awards,” will cover 75 percent of her tuition costs.
Last season, the Simpson Storm finished 8-28 overall and 3-13 in IIAC play.
Saceda-Hurt intends to major in exercise science or clinical health sciences.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.