Historic Senior Class Gets Recognition Prior to Blue Ridge Softball Game

FARMER CITY, Ill. -- The first senior class to accumulate more than 100 wins.

The first Blue Ridge team to win a Heart of Illinois Conference title in any sport. Any way you put it, the players being honored in this year's Senior Day has accomplished so much in their four years as Lady Knights.

For most of the seniors, their proudest achievement occurred in their sophomore year of 2009. That year, they played at the University of Illinois in the super-sectionals.

"That was an experience," Marcie Crawford, who will be majoring in athletic training at Coe College in Iowa, said. "It was really intense, and it felt like there were so many people watching, but it was just the normal people that come to the games all the time. It felt good, though. I liked it."

For Hannah Mattingly, however, her most memorable moment as a Blue Ridge softball player occurred this year during a road trip to Tennessee. The Lady Knights were in Tennessee for matchups against Houston, Tipton-Rosemark Academy and Fayette Academy, and Mattingly recalled getting her arm stuck in a hotel elevator.

Good memories or bad, the seniors said they will miss playing alongside their Blue Ridge teammates.

"It has meant the world to me," Jordyn Fones, who will major in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, said. "It's going to be tough leaving all these girls. I've grown up with them and played with them since I was eight [years old]. I've had a wonderful four years, and I'm going to miss it."

Crawford said, through playing softball for Blue Ridge, she learned some lessons on how to develop relationships with people.

"I really liked being cohesive with everyone," Crawford said. "It's taught me to work with people no matter what and to just push through. There's going to be people that you don't like and people that you do like.  You just have to deal with everyone the same. They're your teammates, and you've just got to be strong together."

For at least most of these seniors, saying goodbye to this chapter in their lives will open up a new one.

"I loved the campus," Fones said of her visit to UA-Huntsville. "I loved the coach. I got to play with the team, and it felt like a family down there. I just really like it down there."

Along with Jade O'Neal, Fones and Crawford, the other seniors will seek higher education after graduating from Blue Ridge High School.

Mattingly and Paige Weidner will attend Parkland College. Mattingly will major in mass communication while Weidner will seek education in the field of dental hygiene.

Kalyn Reynolds will go to flight school in Alabama.

After the seniors were introduced, their mothers threw ceremonial first pitches. Some of the pitches, like this one from Marcie Crawford's mom, were, as Bob Uecker would say, "Juuust a bit outside."

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