WICHITA, Kan. - Wichita State softball head coach Kristi Bredbenner announced Wednesday the signing of eight student-athletes in her 2013 recruiting class. The class hails from four different states and hits upon every positional group.
Bredbenner had this to say about her 2013 class; "All eight signees bring a great deal of work ethic, experience, and charisma to next year's team. With the losses of Hayley Temple, Katie Armagost, and Danika Miller we will look to a number of these recruits to come in and fill some big shoes immediately. This group not only strives on the field but also in classroom. They understand what it takes to be a student-athlete and want to make an impact at Wichita State.
Name - Hometown (High School) - Position
Jenni Brooks - Olathe, Kan. (Olathe East) - Pitcher/Utility
Brooks is a three-year softball letter award winner from Olathe East High School and head coach Jeff Hulse. At Olathe East Jenni has been part of three Sunflower League Championship teams, two regional championships, and the 2012 6A State Championship. She was named freshman of the year her freshman season and earned first team All-State pitching honors and All-South Central Region honors the past two seasons. Jenni plays for the KC Peppers Gold travel ball team coached by Dan Eakin. She plans to major in education and chose Wichita State because of the great campus, the proximity to home and because she loves the softball coaches.
Coach Bredbenner: "Jenni is a movement pitcher that spots pitches well and has a great change-up. She also has pop in her swing giving us the option of using her in a non-pitching role."
Michelle Dixon - Lincoln, Neb. (Lincoln Southwest) - Infield
Michelle Dixon is a four-time softball letter winner for Lincoln Southwest head coach Mark Watt where her teams have an overall record of 122-34. In 2012, Dixon was named All-Conference and honorable mention All-State by the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World Herald. She holds the career batting average (.472) and on-base percentage records at Lincoln Southwest. Dixon will play travel ball with the Nebraska Nemesis Gold coached by Dave Sinkler. Dixon also stands out in the classroom currently maintaining a 4.2 GPA and having earned three NFCA Academic All-American distinctions. She plans to major in Biology at Wichita State and pursue a career in the medical field. Michelle chose the Shockers because the school was a good fit for her and she really liked the coaches.
Bredbenner: "Michelle Dixon brings another powerful bat to the Shocker lineup. With her strong bat and solid glove she will compete for a spot in the infield or at the designated player spot."
Kayla Heath - Gilbert, Ariz. (Desert Ridge) - Pitcher
Heath is a second team All-region pitcher from Desert Ridge High School in Gilbert, Ariz. At Desert Ridge she earned four letters in softball and won a state championship. She also played on the volleyball team. Heath plays summer travel ball with the Arizona Killer Bees Gold team coached by Mike Grimaldi. Kayla plans to major in Occupational Therapy and chose Wichita State because she loved the atmosphere and the coaches.
Bredbenner: "Kayla is a south paw from Arizona. She spots the ball well and will give us solid depth in the circle."
Macklin Hitz - Tulsa, Okla. (Jenks) - First Base/Catcher
A power-hitting first baseman from Jenks High School and head coach Jeff Owens, Hitz has earned six varsity softball letters; three in each fastpitch and slowpitch. Over the past three seasons her team has amassed a record of 98-24 including three regional championships and a state runner-up finish her sophomore year. In 2012, Hitz was named the All-District Player-of-the-Year and All-Region first base adding to her collection of accolades that had already included All-Conference and All-Metro honors. This past summer Hitz played for the Oklahoma Diamond Girls coached by Ken Myers collecting an overall record of 60-23-2. Hitz hit .408 with 15 home runs and a slugging percentage of .743. Macklin plans to major in Business at Wichita State with a career goal of becoming a lawyer. She chose Wichita State because she really enjoyed the environment and because (Coach Bredbenner) gave her the opportunity to keep playing softball.
Bredbenner: "Macklin brings a powerful presence to the batters box. She has the potential to be a big RBI producer throughout her Shocker career."
Ashley Johnson - Phoenix, Ariz. (Greenway) - Outfield
Johnson comes to Wichita State from Greenway High School and head coach Mike Mason. At Greenway, Johnson earned four letters in softball and three in volleyball garnering All-Region honors in both. On the softball diamond she was a first team All-Region selection in both 2010 and 2011 and was named the Offensive Player-of-the-Year in 2012. Johnson has guided Greenway to three straight appearances in the state playoffs and a sixth place finish in 2012. During the summer she plays for coach Ken Moore and the SoCal Athletics. The Athletics placed third at this past summers 18-Gold Nationals. At Wichita State, Johnson plans to pursue a degree in Nursing and chose the university because of the great nursing and softball programs.
Bredbenner: "Ashley gets great reads on the ball and covers a ton of ground in the outfield. She is a true slapper with the pop to drive the ball to the fence."
Kennedy Long - Derby, Kan. (Derby) - Outfield
A familiar face to those in the Wichita area, long will join the Shockers from Derby High School where she has played under head coach Christine Weve. Long has earned two varsity letters in golf and three each in basketball (3) and softball (3). On the softball diamond Long was named honorable mention All-Conference as a freshman before earning first team All-Conference and second team All-State honors the past two seasons guiding the Panthers to the state tournament both years. Long also plays for the Kansas Renegades Gold team coached by Steve Rorebeck. She has a 3.9 GPA and plans to major in Business at WSU with a career goal of owning her own business. Long chose Wichita State because it is a close to home and she believes she can make an impact here.
Bredbenner: "Kennedy is our only local Wichita signee. She has great speed, worth ethic, and passion for the game of softball. She will likely make the move from the infield to the outfield at WSU."
Paige Luellen - Jenks, Okla. (Jenks) - Utility
Luellen is a two-sport (softball and basketball) letter winner from Jenks High School in Jenks, Oklahoma. Playing under head coach Jeff Owens, Luellen has been named to the All-Conference team two times including a first team selection this past season as well as receiving All-State honors. Has been part of three regional championship teams including a state runner-up finish her sophomore year. Plays travel ball for the Oklahoma Diamond Girls and coach Ken Myers. Luellen plans to major in Sports Medicine at WSU with a career goal of traveling with a professional sports team. She chose the Shockers because she loves the coaching staff and loves having the opportunity to make a change in softball at WSU.
Bredbenner: "Paige is a versatile athlete with a powerful bat. She will compete for a spot at third base or in the outfield."
Kelli Spring - Shawnee, Kan. (Mill Valley) - Middle Infield
Spring is another multi-sport (basketball and softball) letter winner joining the Shockers. At Mill Valley High School, Spring has earned numerous accolades for head coach Sarah Haub's Jaguars including winning two regional championships and making two state tournament appearances. Spring has received All-Kaw Valley honors three times, first team All-State and second team All-State honors in 2012 and 2010, respectively. Additionally during her junior season she earned first team All-District honors and was named to first team All-Area Softball Team from the Lawrence Journal World. Spring plans to be a Physical Therapy major at WSU and chose the Shockers because it has everything she looked for in a college and the softball program fits her style of play.
Bredbenner: "Kelli Spring is a true utility player. She plays shortstop, but has the ability to play second base and outfield. For 5'1" she packs a very powerful swing from the left side and is a true triple threat with her ability to slap and drop a bunt. She understands the tradition and expectations of Shocker Athletics as she is following in the footsteps of her father Jim who played baseball for Gene Stephenson from 1981-83."