Douglas High senior Haley Wilkinson (accompanied by Talia Tretton, right) signs her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Grand Canyon University next season. Wilkinson has been a Class 5A North first-team selection each of the past two seasons.
Photo by Ron Harpin.
Haley Wilkinson made her commitment to Grand Canyon University official Wednesday.
The Douglas High School senior verbally committed to the program last fall and followed through Wednesday, putting pen to paper.
“The program is coming up, the coaches are super welcoming,” said Wilkinson. “I feel really proud of all the work I put in. I am able to do what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.”
Wilkinson first picked up a glove at 5 years old.
The multi-dimensional middle infielder is the best defensive player in the state, according to her coach John Glover.
Joining the Lopes
Grand Canyon University in Phoenix competes at the Division I level in the Western Athletic Conference against Cal Baptist, Seattle University, Utah Tech, Utah Valley and others.
Last season, Grand Canyon went 47-13 before knocking off No. 2 UCLA in the opening round of the NCAA regional tournament.
Wilkinson didn’t get an immediate offer from the Antelopes (or “Lopes”), but will join coach Shanon Hays in his third season at the helm next year.
“It was kind of weird. I went to one of their camps like a year ago. I didn’t really have any communication (with them),” said Wilkinson. “Out of nowhere they emailed me and said they were coming out to see me at a tournament. … They offered me right there.”
Wilkinson earned Class 5A North first team all-region honors as a sophomore and junior, putting up gaudy numbers last spring.
As a junior, the shortstop recorded a .513 batting average with 15 home runs and 12 doubles. Her sophomore season, she hit .410 with nine doubles, two triples and two home runs.
She’s in the NIAA record books with 15 home runs in a single season, tying for the seventh most in a season in state history.
Wilkinson said hitting is one of her favorite parts of the game, but winning beats any individual accolade.
Once on campus, Wilkinson expects to continue playing shortstop primarily.
Travel ball and future studies
Wilkinson has been a staple on the travel ball circuit as well, playing out of Las Vegas as well as Vacaville, California to name a couple of stops.
The senior said travel ball gave her the exposure she needed to get to this point.
“Being able to travel to all those places where they (college coaches) go and watch, and be in the big tournaments is the main reason why everything happened the way it did,” Wilkinson said.
When she gets to GCU, Wilkinson said she wants to major in biomedical engineering.
“I really like math and science. When I was little I wanted to be an engineer and just build stuff all of the time,” said Wilkinson. “I like the medical science part, so kind of combining both.”