By Derek Diesner
Special to Independent Newsmedia
Ottawa University in Arizona led signing day event May 21 to welcome more than 20 members to various athletic teams at the University opening later this summer in Surprise.
Among the teams represented were: Baseball, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
“We welcome these new Spirit student-athletes to the family which is OUAZ Spirit Athletics,” said OUAZ Director of Athletics Kevin Steele. “It is such fun and a true pleasure to bring so many of our new student-athletes together at one time to sign their letters of intent. Our family is growing and we cannot wait to get them all in this Fall as we begin our inaugural seasons of competition. Today is a day full of OUAZ pride.”
The baseball team was well represented as head coach Tim Montez welcomed 14 players to the Spirit family. Those players include: Cameron Collins (Glendale), Jared Crockett (Westminster, Colo), Kody Decker (Peoria), Riley Grivette (Lakewood, Colo.), Zachary Humphrey (Peoria), Rob Jesionowski (Goodyear), Fernando Lugo (El Mirage), Chandler Reynard (Chandler), Alex Robertson (Glendale), Adrian Salazar (Glendale), Matt Sweeney (Greenwood Village, Colo.), Hunter Tielke (Tempe), Race Traynor (San Tan Valley) and Jacob Wojnarowski (Mesa).
“I’m excited to announce our second signing class this spring, which includes a solid mix of high school and junior college players at just about every position,” Coach Montez said. “We have a good mix of in-state and out-of-state players including one from Canada. They are not only solid players on the field, but also more importantly great student athletes that come from even greater families. With this class, we have almost completely filled our roster with only a few remaining spots to fill.”
Head men’s and women’s tennis Coach Brad Louderback announced a couple of signees. Goodyear native Austin Todd is from Millennium High School. Joining the Spirit women’s tennis team is Michelle Fournier from Chicago and Jocelyn Torres from Peoria. Fournier, just finished up her two year playing career at nearby Mesa Community College.
“We are excited to have this excellent group of leaders be the pioneers and join our first ever OUAZ Tennis program,” said Ottawa University head tennis coach Brad Louderback.
Head Women’s Soccer Coach Skelly Kellar announced the signing of Sam Ahern on Sunday. Ahern joins OUAZ from Surprise where she played at Shadow Ridge High School.
“Sam (Ahern) is coming from Shadow Ridge High School and plays defender for SC Del Sol,” said OUAZ head women’s soccer coach Skelly Kellar. “She just finished her last club year as runners up in the State Cup. She is a skilled defender who is really going to come in and make a difference. Sam has great character and is a stellar student. She plans to major in sports medicine. We are very excited to have her.”
Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Kristin Steele announced the signing of six players on Sunday afternoon. The six include: Adara Greathouse (Surprise), Lauryn Mussa (Phoenix), Camilla Trovato (Surprise), Ryane Sanders (Phoenix), McKenna Crank (Payson) and Melissa Pignatello (Glendale).
“I am excited about the way this team is shaping up,” said Ottawa University head women’s volleyball coach Kristin Steele. “Not only are these young women talented on the volleyball court, but also excel in the classroom. I am looking forward to watching these players mature and grow during their time at OUAZ.”
Softball also had one signee, pitcher/first baseman Bailey Honne (Surprise) signed her letter of intent to join the Spirit for this coming season. Honne transfers to OUAZ from nearby Scottsdale Community College, where she has spent the last two seasons with the Fighting Artichokes after graduating from Dysart High School. Honne enters her junior season in 2017-18.
“In the time frame given and in just four short months we were able to put together our first recruiting class and one that I have been very pleased with,” said Ottawa University head softball coach Lee Dobbins. “With a mix of experienced JUCO players and quality freshman, the building blocks for the programs solid foundation are set.”
For more information about Ottawa University athletics, visit www.ouazspirit.com/index.php.
Follow OUAZ athletics on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OUAZSpiritAthletics/ and on Twitter twitter.com/OUAZSpirit.
• Editor’s note: Derek Diesner is the sports information director for Ottawa University Arizona