Softball: Harper headed to Concord

Douglas High senior Stephanie Harper let her signature close an exhausting summer/fall stretch.

Now, all she has to do is get ready for her final high school softball season.

Harper, a pitcher, signed her national letter of intent to play for Concord University in Athens, W.V., Wednes day in the Douglas gymnasium.

"I'm very excited," Harper said. "It's good to have it out of the way, to know where I am going for college.

"It (the Concord offer) really just kind of fell into my lap. I was looking to get it out of the way before the season started, but it was that big of a deal to me to get it done early. It feels much better to have it done, though. I don't have to worry about it and I can just enjoy my senior year."

Harper just wrapped up her fall season with the California Grapettes last weekend after a series of eight consecutive tournaments.

"I'm pretty worn out," she said with a laugh. "I'm going to rest up a bit over the next few weeks and then start getting ready for the high school season."

Harper helped the Grapettes to a 33rd-place finish out of 125 teams at the national championships in Moline, Ill., this summer.

She has plenty to build on in her senior year, as she is already the Douglas High's winningest pitcher with 53 wins in three seasons to go with two no-hitters and more than 300 strikeouts.

Her short list of schools included mostly eastern college (five out of eight) and she narrowed it down to Concord primarily based on the academics and the coaching staff.

"I really liked the coaches," Harper said. "The college is great. As a freshman, I hope I'll be able to make a difference and play, not sit for two years like I would at other colleges."

Harper was recruited by coach Sabrina McCullough, who was just hired in August. McCullough brought in a recruiting class of nine freshmen, including Harper.

Concord plays in the NCAA Division II Western Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a 16-school league.

The school, located in Athens, West Virginia, is set on a sweeping campus in a town that features only one stoplight.

"It's really nice," Harper said. "It's small, but it is spread out. It is close to some bigger places, but it'll be a nice place to go to school."


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