Nov. 14, 2012
University of Minnesota softball coach Jessica Allister announced Wednesday the signing of three players to National Letters of Intent for the 2013-14 year. The Golden Gophers’ Class of 2017 will include Minnesota natives Hannah Evavold and Sam Macken along with Canadian Sara Groenewegen.
“We are thrilled to welcome Hannah, Sam and Sara into the Gopher Softball Family,” said Allister. “Each year as a staff our goal is to recruit quality individuals with the skill set and work ethic needed to help us reach our mission of a Big Ten Championship. We accomplished that goal with this class. Sara and Hannah will be great additions to our already strong pitching staff, and Sam will compete for playing time in the infield.”
Two-time scholar athlete and National Honor Society member, Hannah Evavold is from Bloomington, Minn. A right-handed pitcher, Evavold helped guide Thomas Jefferson High School to back-to-back third-place finishes at the Minnesota State Tournament. Hannah, who has served as the Jaguars’ team captain the past three seasons, has received All-Conference honors four times during her prep career. In 2012, she was tagged as All-Metro by both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press while also garnering All-State honors. Evavold plays club ball with the Minnesota Sting coached by former Gopher Michelle Harrison.
“Hannah is a hard-throwing right handed pitcher that has a huge upside. We have had the privilege to work with Hannah a couple of times at Minnesota Softball Camps, and each time she has impressed us with her skill set, her work capacity and her ability to accept and apply coaching. Hannah has had tremendous success at the high school and club level, and we are excited to watch her continue to blossom here at the U.”
Hannah is a four-time letterwinner in softball and also received one letter in basketball.
Sam Macken preps at Rochester Lourdes where she is a two-time All-State, three-time All-Section and three-time All-Conference honoree. Macken also garnered extensive National and World Series awards, including World Series MVP. Her high school team is coached by her parents Mike and Becky Macken. At Rochester Lourdes, Macken holds eight school records, including highest career batting average (.509) and highest career slugging percentage (.870) while only striking out three times the last three seasons. Sam plays club ball for the Minnesota Stars and is coached by Mike Blanchette, father of current Gopher Bree Blanchette.
“Sam is a tremendous athlete that has the versatility to compete at any of the infield positions and adds another dynamic left-handed bat to our offense. Sam is as competitive as they come, and not afraid of hard work. She will fit right in with the Gopher Softball culture.”
Macken also participates on the hockey and volleyball teams where she has earned All-Conference honors and been named team captain for each program.
Sara Groenewegen hails from Canada and attends Elgin Park Secondary in Surrey, B.C. Groenewegen has won three Canadian National Championships with her club team the White Rock Renegades. Despite being only a sophomore, Sara was invited to participate at the 2011 Canadian Junior Nationals Training Camp. Sara also played for Team British Columbia in 2011 and won gold at the Western Canadian Summer Games. For her efforts, Sara was named British Columbia Softball Athlete of the Year. Sara competes for both the White Rock Renegades and the Washington Sidewinders.
“Sara is a seasoned pitcher whose experience at the international level will allow her to transition into the college game without missing a beat. She has great command of her pitches and possesses the ability to hit with a lot of power. We look forward to her contributions on both sides of the ball.”
Groenewegen’s athletic ability is not limited to just the softball field. She also played four years of volleyball and three years of basketball at Elgin Park Secondary.
Houlihan Provides Steady Presence
No stage seems to phase Maddie Houlihan. She stays calm and collected in even the biggest moments.
Dwyer's Wit Brings Gophers Together
Known by many as the funniest person on the team Dwyer has used her dry wit to ease tension and create team laughs on multiple occasions.
A True Softball Family: The Chells
It all started when a T-ball registration postcard showed up in the mail. Now the whole Chell family has a passion for baseball and softball.