OREM - Utah Valley University head softball coach Nikki Palmer announced her first signing class as six new faces signed National Letters of Intent last week and will join the Wolverine family next year. All are high school seniors and will eligible for competition as true freshmen during the 2015 season.
Entering her first season at the helm of UVU softball, Palmer's 2015 class includes three infielders, two catchers, an outfielder and spans three different states. Catchers Aeriel Carlson and Dana De La Torre as well as utility infielder Taleigh Williams hail from California, while infielder Haley Harrison comes from Nevada. Infielder/outfielder Breezy Roth (Kaysville) and Kristy Snyder (Springville) come from Utah.
"I am so thrilled to welcome Aeriel, Dana, Haley, Breezy, Kristy and Taleigh to the Wolverine softball family," Palmer said. "Each of these young ladies has worked very hard in both the classroom and on the field to get to this point. As a program, we could not be more proud of them and excited to have them as contributors to our future success."
Carlson is a senior catcher at Citrus Valley HS and is a native of Highland, Calif. She was named the 2011 California Interscholastic Federation Offensive MVP in 2011 as a freshman and has helped her team to three consecutive league championships. CVHS reached the CIF finals during her freshman season and captured the championship during her junior season.
"Aeriel is a stellar student and a tenacious athlete who I expect to give us tremendous strength behind the plate," Palmer said.
A native of Pico Rivera, Calif., De La Torre is a 5-foot-6 catcher entering her senior season at Whittier HS. She has been a varsity starter since her freshman season, earning letters all three years of play, and has been named first team All-League each season. As a junior, De La Torre earned second team All-Area honors as her squad won the Del Rio League Championship for the third consecutive season and reached the CIF tournament semifinals. She batted .407 last season including 41 RBIs and five home runs.
"Dana is very confident and is natural behind the plate," Palmer said. "She will be looking to come in and make an impact immediately."
A middle infielder from Henderson, Nev., Harrison is a senior at Palo Verde HS in Las Vegas after transferring from Coronado HS. In two seasons at Coronado, she helped her team to region championships during her sophomore and junior seasons, including a state runner-up finish in 2011-12. Harrison has twice earned her school's Scholar Athlete Award and will be the second of her three sisters to play NCAA Division I softball. Haley's older sister, Lee, plays for St. Peter's University.
"Haley brings a ton of speed and natural athletic ability to next year's class," Palmer said. "She is a very hard worker and will help us immensely in the future."
From Kaysville, Utah, and Davis HS comes Roth, a shortstop and outfielder. She has played three seasons at Davis, helping the Darts to their first-ever top finish in the region last season. Since her freshman campaign, Roth has hit a combined .481 with 40 RBIs to go along with a .595 on-base percentage as a lead-off hitter. She has been named to two consecutive all-region and all-area teams and started at second base for the Adidas Futures team in the summer of 2012.
"Breezy is incredibly athletic, has a lot of speed and will help us on defense," Palmer said of the local product.
A senior at Springville HS in Springville, Utah, Snyder was named 2013 All-Valley Offensive MVP as a junior third basemen. She was a 4A all-state selection by the Deseret News as well as a selection to the All-Valley team. Last season, Snyder posted a .520 batting average to go along with six home runs and 18 doubles. She also had 40 RBIs to solidify herself as one of the area's top offensive threats.
"Kristy has huge power at the plate," Palmer said. "We're losing some of that power in this season's senior class so we will be looking to her to help replenish our pop."
Lastly, Taleigh Williams will arrive in Orem from Torrance, Calif. The utility infielder will have played her junior and senior seasons at Redondo Union HS after spending her first two years at Palisades HS. She was twice selected first team All-League during her freshman and sophomore campaigns and helped PHS to back-to-back Western League titles. In one season at RUHS, she was selected first team All-League and earned the school's Scholar Athlete Award. Williams batted .415 with 11 RBIs last season.
"Taleigh is a fearless defender and a constant threat offensively," Palmer said. "I am confident she will come in fighting for a starting spot right away."
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.