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Deep in the heart of Texas
Sutter's Graham signs with UTSA
Every TV in the house was tuned into ESPN.
On Friday, Jolene Graham was watching her longtime friend and former teammate Jessica Moore on the big stage — pitching in the NCAA Softball Super Regional in Austin, Texas
It's always been a dream for Graham to do the same.
Now she's one step closer.
The former Sutter High standout and 2010 A-D All-Area Player of the Year signed a national letter of intent to play for the University of Texas at San Antonio on Saturday.
"I'm so blessed," Graham said. "I'm so excited. I worked so hard for this and it paid off."
Graham earned a full-ride scholarship after leading Odessa Community College in Texas to a conference championship in 2011 and second-place finish in 2012.
Her stats this season were uncanny.
The third baseman finished second in the conference in RBIs (89), runs scored (84) and putouts (338); third in batting average (.462), doubles (21) and stolen bases (28); fourth in slugging (.898) and home runs (21).
Graham still talks with Moore, a junior at Oregon, on a frequent basis, and has learned and shared plenty after catching for her since she was 10 years old.
But Graham credits her coaches at Odessa and her own dedication for her success.
"My whole thing is to just work harder and harder," Graham said. "I learned that I needed to buy into my coach's program and make it work.
"I had to listen to (Joel Prickett). He made some adjustments to my swing, and instead of being stubborn about it, I just listened and made it happen," Graham added. "I bought into him and the community. When you have someone believing in you and encouraging you, it's blessing."
UTSA finished 24-28 overall and 12-8 in the Southland Conference last season, but the school will compete in the Western Athletic Conference in 2013 with new head coach Amanda Lehotak.
"I can't say enough about coach 'Tek,'" Graham said. "She's amazing. She really teaches the game and provides us with really good insight."
Another perk for Graham — UTSA wants her to pitch.
"I have a YouTube video of me pitching, they saw that and want me to pitch for them," Graham said. "We talk a lot about leadership skills and keep my fire burning. Our goal is to make the postseason."
Graham hopes that one day her and Moore might face each other. Now she's one step closer.
Morehead signs with
Former Sutter High wrestling standout Austin Morehead, who has been one of the top junior college wrestlers in the nation for Clackamas Community College in Oregon City for the past two seasons, will be making a short drive south on Interstate 5 to Corvallis, Ore., to compete for coach Jim Zalesky and the Oregon State Beavers.
He signed a national letter of intent to wrestle for OSU on May 16.
OSU is the defending Pacific-12 Conference champion and finished 10th at the NCAA Championships.
Morehead will figure to compete for a spot at the 184-pound weight class next season for the Beavers.