Thunder Mountain High School senior Kyra Jenkins Hayes took a big step in achieving a deep-seated goal on Sunday night.
The softball pitcher penned her name on a national letter of intent for Edmonds Community College softball. The school is located near Seattle in Lynnwood, Washington.
“I’ve just loved softball since I was 8,” said Jenkins Hayes, who’s gone 23-0 as a starter for the three-time state champs. “Playing up in college has just been my main goal.”
The senior, who joined the Falcons softball team in 2016 on their maiden state championship season, shared the moment while surrounded by family and friends in one of the TMHS commons areas.
“She’s strong, she’s overcome a lot with the different knee surgeries,” Jenkins Hayes’ mom, Sharla, said.
Jenkins Hayes had surgery for an ACL injury in middle school and dislocated patella over the summer, shortly after the Falcons won their third straight state title.
Maxie Saceda-Hurt, a 2018 TMHS graduate and key contributor on that team, started her first game at Simpson College in Iowa the same day as the signing. TMHS softball coach John Boucher highlighted this strange parallel in remarks during the event: “So that just shows kids from here, when they put in the work, can play, and that’s exciting. It’s exciting for Kyra just to think she gets to be close to her home and gets to play ball.”
Edmonds plays in the Northwest Athletic Conference, the home for over 30 community colleges in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia. The Tritons last won the NWAC championship in 1980 and placed third in the conference in 2018.
Jenkins Hayes said the proximity of Edmonds to her hometown was one of her motivations for signing there.
“Once I saw that a school near Seattle was looking at me, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s really close (to Juneau),’” she said. “I’ve been to Seattle plenty of times.”
She said she was impressed by Edmonds’ track record of getting players to bigger colleges and universities.
“A lot of Edmonds players transfer to four-year schools like Western Washington and some go to University of Washington,” Jenkins Hayes said. “The plan is to play for two years at Edmonds and then get recruited by a four-year D-2 or D-1 school.”
While not a full-ride scholarship, Edmonds offered the Juneauite a partial scholarship to cover tuition.
The Alaska high school softball season begins on Feb. 27.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.