Recently, two Antioch players signed to take the field at Division I schools. Third baseman Stephanie Mathias is headed for Weber State University in Utah. As a sophomore and a junior, Mathias was selected as a second team all-league player. On Friday, Panthers pitcher/outfielder Paris Imholz signed a letter of intent to play for Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
“It had everything I wanted for the college experience,” said Imholz. “It has a great athletics program, the school is beautiful, the location is great, the people are so nice, and it has my major (journalism). It basically had everything that I wanted.”
Imholz has been a key player in the Panthers success over the last two seasons. Last season, Antioch notched a second-place finish in the BVAL with a 10-5 league record, going 18-8 overall. In her junior season with the Panthers, Imholz struck out 217 batters in 25 games while also batting .354 and scoring 23 runs.
To honor her signing, Antioch held a special ceremony that included words from Imholz, her parents and Principal Louie Rocha. Also in attendance were Athletic Director Steve Sanchez, numerous friends and teammates, and many of Antioch’s other top athletes and coaches.
“I am so grateful to my friends and family,” said Imholz. “I have gained a lot of awesome friends who I know that I am going to stay close with. And in softball, being with a core group of girls that are awesome. We have so much fun together.”
Not to be outdone in the signing cavalcade was defending league champion and North Coast Section runner-up Freedom, represented by Falcon outfielder Malena Padilla, who signed to play at New Mexico State University. In her junior season, Padilla averaged a whopping .482 at the plate, including two home runs, four triples and 11 doubles. She also stole 12 bases in 13 attempts.
On Monday afternoon, Freedom’s Katie Wood inked her letter of intent for the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Wood will play second base for the Division II Tritons, while majoring in biology. Joining Wood at her signing were Padilla, her parents, Principal Eric Faulkner, Athletic Director Steve Amaro and head coach Jeff Jonas.
In her junior season at Freedom, Wood hit .373 with two home runs, 10 doubles, and was a perfect six for six in stolen bases.
“I met with the girls from the team and they were really fun – different from all of the other teams that I met,” said Wood. “The school was huge, a lot of trees and very spacious and the coach is a really good guy. He has a lot of structure, which I like in a softball team.”