From Lady Buffs to Lady Falcons
A pair of Garden City High School female athletes looked to the future on Monday, Feb. 22, when they signed respective national letters-of-intent to attend NAIA school Friends University in Wichita.
Abby Ellerman, a 5-10 senior outside hitter, signed with the Lady Falcons to play volleyball in the fall 2021 season while Gutierrez, who missed her junior year with the Lady Buffs softball season due to the cancellation of the spring campaign for COVID-19, will play softball at the Wichita-based school that competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Ellerman, a three-year letter winner for Coach Trista Bailey, helped lead the Lady Buffs to their 10th consecutive Western Athletic Conference team championship and a sixth straight appearance at the Class 6A state tournament.
She was the team’s leader in hitting efficiency with a .232 percentage and was tops in blocks with 47. For here three-year career, she had 373 kills and 100 blocks. She was chosen to the 2020 All-WAC first-team.
“There were a few schools that I was interested in and the most fun was going on visits to see what the campuses were like and meeting new people,” Ellerman said. “It’s just far enough away, but still close to home for me.”
Ellerman said her coach at Friends has indicated she will likely be a middle blocker at the next level. Her goal before arriving in Wichita this fall will be to work out and get stronger.
Ellerman plans to study chiropractic in college.
Gutierrez was a mainstay for the 2019 Lady Buffaloes softball team during her sophomore season.
In 37 at-bats, she hit .243 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 5 RBIs and scored 14 runs. Her pitching saw her post a 4-0 record in 21 innings, where she allowed 7 earned runs, 6 walks and had 14 strikeouts. Her senior season is just around the corner and it is hoped that the 2021 season will not have any interruptions like 2020.
She will likely be one of the pitching mainstays for Coach Trina Moquett and the Lady Buffs this spring.
Gutierrez said the recruiting game was stressful at times, looking at some schools that were located in small towns and others where it is more like a big city.
“One of my coaches went there (Friends) and when I went there on my visit, I had a really nice experience,” she said.
Playing both shortstop and pitcher, Gutierrez said she was looking more to be in the pitching rotation than playing a regular position when she gets to Friends.
She plans to study radiology.