Douglas athletes sign to play at next level |

Douglas athletes sign to play at next level

Charles Whisnand
From left Hailey Hughes, Elijah Hinojosa, Haley Doughty and Jordan Smith.
Ron Harpin

The diversity of the Douglas High athletic program wasn’t just shown by the fact four athletes signed to play at the next level. How diverse the Tigers’ athletic program was shown by the fact the athletes signed to play at the next level in four different sports.

Hailey Hughes signed to play volleyball at Division I Louisiana Monroe, Jordan Smith signed to play women’s soccer at Division II Cal State East Bay, Haley Doughty signed to play softball at Division II Metro State in Denver, Colo., and Elijah Hinojosa signed to play baseball at Clark College, a community college in Washington during a ceremony held at Douglas High on Thursday.

Douglas High girls soccer coach Rick Smith said Jordan Smith was the best goalie in the state. Smith earned all-Northern Region second team honors once, and all-region first team honors twice, including this past season. Smith helped lead the Tigers to appearances in the state tournament during her freshman year and her senior year this past season. In 23 games this season, Smith posted 17 shutouts and allowed just 11 goals.

Smith was first noticed by Cal State East Bay during a camp a Lake Tahoe Community College last April and offered her a full-ride scholarship. She committed to the school in August.

There are two goalies on the Pioneers roster who were on the team last season, But Smith said she obviously hopes to be able to compete for playing time as a freshman in 2019.

“It think it’s a toss-up if I play or not,” Smith said.

But Smith is also realizing a long-time dream to play soccer in college.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was 10, probably, going to play college soccer,” Smith said.

Hughes, a middle blocker for the Tigers, was an all-Sierra League first team selection for three years and made the Las Vegas Review Journal’s all-state team as an honorable mention pick this past season. Hughes had 223 kills and 60 blocks this past season.

“We’re just very proud of her,” Douglas coach Suzy Townsell said. “All the hard work and dedication she’s put in, it just has paid off for her. She’s been an excellent role model.”

Hughes had a connection to Louisiana Monroe through the recruiting coordinator with her club team, the Northern Nevada Juniors in Reno. The recruiting coordinator knew Louisiana Monroe coach Russ Friedland, who served as an assistant coach at UNLV, and sent him film of Hughes.

“He liked me right away,” Huges said. “I’m pretty excited. I love all the girls. I love the school. I love the coach.”

After her playing career at Louisiana Monroe, Hughes said she plans to return to the University of Nevada to attend dental school. As far as her outlook for her freshman season in 2019, “I think the chances are pretty good of having playing time next year. I think it depends on who works the hardest.”

Doughty, who maintains a 4.0 grade point average, has numerous academic and athletic awards. She’s been a member of the Douglas varsity team for three years. As a junior last season, Doughty hit .406 with four home runs and 33 RBI.

Doughty said Metro State, one of the nation’s top Division II programs, noticed her last summer while she was playing for the Nevada Hot Shots. “They signed me right there,” said Doughty about the school making her an offer.

And Doughty, is expected to step right into the starting lineup with Metro State, with a good chance she could receive a lot of playing time at second base. Doughty is the Tigers’ shortstop and can also play third base. “It’s really a close, tight-knit team,” Doughty said. “I think it will be good.”

She’ll have a chance to bond with her teammates this summer when she plays with the Roadrunners when they go on a tour of Europe. Doughty said she plans to major in history and education with the hope of becoming a college professor.

Hinojosa is a left-handed pitcher for Douglas who earned all-region honorable mention honors last season as a junior. Hinojosa said he has a fastball that’s consistently in the mid-80s “and a few breaking pitches to go with it.”

He was noticed by Clark last summer when he was playing with his Reno club team.

“Their coach saw me. Liked me. Called me,” Hinojosa said about Clark coach Mark Magdaleno. he said Clark eventually offered him a full scholarship. “I am very excited to come and play and further my education at Clark College. Can’t wait for the 2020 season.”

Hinojosa has been a two-way player for Douglas and has started the last two seasons for the Tigers. Magdaleno said he expects Hinojosa to be a two-way player with the Penguins as well.

“At the collegiate level, if you can pitch and play another position then why not do it? Some of the best players I’ve ever been associated with at the college level were two-way players. If you’re a baseball player then be a baseball player….the ball isn’t that heavy. It could be your last opportunity to compete so I believe players should not short change themselves and I believe coaches shouldn’t short change the players. I’ll give you the opportunity and it’s that player’s job to make it happen. Elijah is the kind of young man who will seize the opportunity and be what has always been and that’s a top of the line competitor,” Magdaleno said.

Douglas coach Don Amaral said along with being a starting pitcher this season, Hinojosa also will start in right field and hit in the middle of the lineup.

“Eli is a hard worker, who has developed two new pitches (change and cutter) to go with an 88 mile per hour fastball. The Tiger Baseball Family is excited about him signing with Clark College,” Amaral said.

Hinojosa said his obvious ultimate goal is to pitch at the Division I level, with an eye on Washington State. He said the Cougars have shown interest but want him to develop more velocity on his fastball, which he will work on at Clark. “Always working for that,” Hinojosa said.