Two trends continued Monday at Pahrump Valley High School: the flow of graduates to colleges in cold climates and the increased number of Pahrump Valley softball players continuing their careers in college.
Senior Terrena Martin became the third member of the Class of 2020 to commit to playing softball at the next level, signing with Williston State College in North Dakota at a ceremony on Monday at the high school.
Martin follows McKayla Bartley (Bryant &Stratton College) and Skyler Lauver (College of Southern Nevada) to announce their plans to play softball in college, following 2019 grad Jackie Stobbe, a once and future teammate of Lauver’s. In Martin’s case, the coach made the difference.
“Honestly, he’s the one that stuck out to me the most,” Martin said of Tetons coach Dan Ries. “He seems like a genuine guy. He said as of right now I have a starting spot, so that was super-exciting.”
“What first got my attention about Terrena was her incredibly positive attitude,” Ries said. “I needed an outfielder with speed, the ability to put the ball in play and a solid student. I reached out to her to let her know we were interested in talking some softball and education. When we finally spoke on the phone, Terrena was well prepared. She had a list of questions and was very well-spoken.”
Williston State College is a two-year public community college enrolling roughly 1,000 students in the North Dakota University System. The Tetons compete in the Mon-Dak Athletic Conference, made up of schools in Montana and North Dakota, and is part of Region XIII of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The school offers baseball, basketball and hockey for men and basketball, softball and volleyball for women.
Ries said he learned about Martin from Next College Student Athlete, a website that links athletes with colleges and educates them about the recruiting process. But nothing beats a campus visit, and much as Martin was drawn to Williston State, Williston State’s coach was drawn to Martin.
“When we finally did get her here for a visit, accompanied by her father, we were not disappointed,” Ries said. “Terrena is incredibly athletic. She makes it down to first base, from home, in about 2.8 seconds. She covers the outfield with the same speed and intensity and can put the ball in play with a bunt, slap or hit on offense.”
Martin’s father, Rick, also one of Lauver’s many assistant softball coaches, was impressed with Ries and the people at Williston State,
“Our first impression was very comforting,” Rick Martin said. “They provided us a first-class tour of the entire campus and answered all of our questions. Coach Ries made us feel very welcome. … A very first-class program.”
The welcome extended to the softball locker room, where the Tetons staff had a locker all set up for her.
Pahrump Valley coach Cassondra Lauver was thrilled Martin’s new college coach saw so much of what she has seen over the years.
“Terrena’s been playing for us since she was a sixth-grader; she was brand new, never played before,” she said. “She’s been playing travel ball for us and (Las Vegas-based) Impact Gold for quite a while now.
“She’s a great outfielder, fast in the outfield, knows how to read the ball well. She knows what plays need to be made, where to throw the ball to. She just hustles. She covers a lot of ground with her speed and her length.”
“I started in seventh grade,” Martin said. “My best friend when I was in elementary school played softball, and she inspired me to play. So I tried it out, and I loved it the first day.”
It didn’t take long for Lauver and Martin to figure out where the speedster would be most effective.
“I started at second base, then they moved me to first base, and I realized infield just wasn’t my thing,” Martin recalled.
Outfield definitely is her thing, but Martin’s offense is equally noteworthy. As a junior for the Class 3A state champion Trojans (30-11), Martin hit .486 with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 27 RBIs. She scored 60 runs and walked 19 times while stealing a team-leading 23 bases. Martin also ran three years of cross country for the Trojans.
But the classroom also matters, and Martin plans to study radiology at Williston State.
“I don’t know what aspect yet, but radiology for sure,” she said. “My cousin plays basketball for Oregon State, and I heard she was doing kiniesiology, and I thought about that for a little bit, but then I got to just thinking more. Radiology — that seems cool.”
Not as cool as the winter temperatures in Williston, a city 18 miles from the Montana line and 60 miles from Canada in northwestern North Dakota where, on average, there are 42 days each year with a low below zero.
“It’s super- cold, but I think I’ve got it,” Martin said. “I love it. Everybody there is so nice, the campus is beautiful. I’m so excited.”
“This has been a dream of hers for as long as I can remember,” Lauver said.
Meanwhile, Ries believes he might have stolen Martin from higher-profile programs.
“The tipping point for me to really open up lines of communication with her was a call with a college scout,” he said. “He told me, ‘I know Terrena Martin, and she is just beginning to come into herself.’ So if what I have seen is just the beginning, it is going to be a lot of fun having her on our team.”