Open Announce

Lobo Softball Signs 10 on National Signing Day

by Allison Weiss

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— University of New Mexico head softball coach Nicole Dickson and staff have signed 10 to the 2023 class in their first official signing class.

Spanning from Oklahoma to Texas to Arizona to California to Hawaii, Dickson and staff inked a class that includes two pitchers, two outfielders, two utility players and four infielders.

“Our 2023 signing class fits our culture of athletic character,” stated Dickson. “They are a talented group but even better people.

“This group excels academically and athletically and aligns with our expectations to compete for championships in the Mountain West. We are excited to announce this 2023 class and welcome each player to our Lobo family.”

Introducing the newest Lobos: Macie Andrews, Gabrielle Briones, Katherine Brunner, Amanda Croteau, McKenna Guest, Jewels Hanawahine, Kenzie Jones, Hayden Luderer, Karly Smith and DeNae Vasquez-Dickson.

Macie Andrews | UTIL| Enid, Oklahoma

Andrews played both middle infield and outfield at Chisholm High School and earned several accolades in her four years. Most recently, she was named the All-Conference Player of the Year in 2022, and previously was named to the All-Northwest Oklahoma First Team and as an all-conference infielder in 2021, and as the Northwest Oklahoma Player of the Year in 2020. In addition, she also pitched and earned all-conference pitcher honors in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Among her career stats, Andrews recorded 93 stolen bases, nine career home runs and hit .465.

Beyond lettering in softball for four years, Andrews lettered in track for four years where she placed third in pole vaulting at state, and was a two-time academic state champion in track. Academically, she was a member of the National Honor Society all four years.

At the club level, the new Lobo played for Texas Glory 18u Shelton with her team finishing runner-up at the 2022 Alliance Tier 2.

On why UNM: I chose UNM because of the coaching staff. Coach Dickson and Coach Spearman make it feel like home. The campus is beautiful and the atmosphere around the team is great. Also, I love the school colors.

Andrews intends to major in business and marketing at UNM.

Gabrielle Briones | IF | Mesquite, Texas

An infielder from Mesquite, Texas and North Mesquite High School, Briones brings numerous honors to the Lobos, both in softball and in volleyball.

The infielder was named the 2022 District 10-6A Defensive Player of the Year, 2022 North Mesquite High School Stallion Softball Player of the Year and won the North Mesquite High School Stallion Softball 2022-23 Year Letterman Award. In 2021, she was named the 2021 District 10-6A Offensive Player of the Year and earned all-state in the 2020-21 season. Academically, she was named 2022 District 10-6A Academic All-District. She also earned all-district in volleyball in 2019-20.

She also played club ball for Texas Glory, where the team recently was the Super Cup Stage 1 2023 AFCS Qualifier pool winner, placed fifth at the 2022 18U TFL Summer Championship and the 18U Top Club Nationals.

 

Outside of sports, the Lobo signee was a member of the National Honor Society, the MISD National Hispanic Recognition Program and the Mesquite Rotary Club Student Recognition Program.

On why UNM: I chose UNM mostly because of the amazing coaches, but as soon as I visited the campus, I realized this is where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life. The atmosphere here is nothing like any other college- everyone is here to support everyone and that is beautiful to see. Also, the chemistry the softball team has, especially in welcoming newcomers, is heartwarming and I cannot wait to experience it!

Briones intends to be a criminology major at UNM.

Katherine Brunner | IF | Katy, Texas

While playing shortstop at James E. Taylor High School, Brunner earned first team all-district her junior year and second team all-district her sophomore year. In addition to playing softball, Brunner also lettered in basketball. Prior to signing with New Mexico, she played for the Bombers, the Lady Dukes and Prolific.

On why UNM: As soon as I stepped on campus, the coaches made it feel like home right away and the girls are amazing. I’m also excited for the change of scenery. I’m so excited to call this place home for the next four years.

At UNM, Brunner intends to major in business.

Amanda Croteau | IF | Katy, Texas

Croteau has played on the varsity team all four years at Cinco Ranch High School, and is coming off of bi-district and area championships in the 2022 season. In her most recent campaign, she hit eight home runs with 26 RBI, hitting .389 with a .436 on-base percentage and a .750 slugging percentage and was named the District 19-6A Offensive Most Valuable Player. During her high school career, she has earned several other individual awards such as the Silver Slugger in 2021 and 2022, the Cougar Heart, also in 2021 and 2022, and was named to the 2021 first team infield all-district. Academically, she earned all-academic in 2021 and 2022.

At the club level, Croteau played for Texas Blaze Gold KTX Voss, where her team was the 2021 Colorado fireworks Open champions and the runner-up at the 2021 Triple Crown Southwest Nationals Gold Division.

On why UNM: Because of Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you.

She intends to major in early education at UNM.

McKenna Guest | P | Pattonville, Texas

A right-handed pitcher from Prairiland High School, Guest earned TGCA all-state, District 12-3 MVP, Prairiland Co-MVP, All-RRV Co-MVP and Academic All-District in 2022 as her team was the 2022 regional quarterfinal champions. Further, she was Extra Innings National HS Player of the Week HM twice in May 2022. In 2021, she was also named District 12-3A Newcomer of the Year, All-RRV Pitcher of the Year and the Prairiland HS Softball MVP after compiling over 350 strikeouts on the season.

At the club level, Guest played for Tenacity, Smash, Texas Glory, where her teams were successful at the national level. In 2022, her team was the Super Cup Stage 1 2023 AFCS Qualifier pool winner, placed third at the 18u Triple Crown TX State Championships, placed fifth at the 18U TFL Summer Championship and at the 18U Top Club Nationals, and was the 18U Texas Glory Summer Shootout co-champs.

Outside of softball, she was involved in robotics in high school, and won the 2021 Prairiland Robotics Award. Her robotics team placed third at the Robotics state qualifier.

On why UNM: I choose UNM because it is a beautiful campus and has a multitude of learning possibilities. I also believe that I will benefit from the softball program.

Guest plans to major in computer science at UNM.

Jewels Hanawhine | IF | Waimanalo, Hawaii

While attending Kamehameha Kapālama, Hanawahine has been a starter on the varsity team since her freshman season as both a utility player and as a third baseman.

At the club level, the new Lobo has played for Firecrackers Rico 18U, Firecrackers Brasher Smith and Firecrackers Hawaii, and won the Alliance Supercup and finished third at the Alliance 18U Nationals.

On why UNM: I chose UNM because of the atmosphere set by the coaches and athletic staff. They are building a program with a champion mindset and I wanted to be a part of the bright future of UNM Softball.

Hanawhine intends to major in construction management at UNM.

Kenzie Jones | P | Crawford, Texas

A right-handed pitcher at Crawford High School, Jones comes to New Mexico as a state champion and MVP.

After COVID ended her freshman season, she was named to the state all-tournament team, to the Super Centex First Team, to the all-state first team and as the district pitcher of the year as a sophomore in 2021. In addition, she was named to the Texas Girls Association First Team All-State and TX Sports Writers First Team All-State. Her list of honors continued to grow as a junior, where she again was named to the state all-tournament team and the Texas Girls Association First Team All-State and TX Sports Writers First Team All-State. In addition, she was also selected for the TX All-Star Team, the all-state first team, the Super Center Player of the Year, the Texas High School First Team all central Texas, to the Texas High School First Team All-State and was named the Texas High School 2A Player of the Year as her team won the 2A State Championship and was named 2A State MVP.

Statistically, Jones recorded 87 strikeouts as a freshman before COVID cut the season short, 287 strikeouts her sophomore year and 239 strikeouts her junior year. Jones also hit in high school, batting .400 her freshman season, .467 as a sophomore and .547 as a junior with 52 hits, nine home runs and 57 RBIs.

She was ranked 79th pitcher by Extra Innings in 2021, 59th in 2021 and most recently was ranked 50th in the Extra Innings Elite 100 rankings.

At the club level, the RHP played for Centex Buzz Gold, Texas Blaze, Impact Gold.

On why UNM: I love how involved the community is with the sports programs and how welcoming the community feels.

Jones intends to be a pre-med major at UNM.

Hayden Luderer | UTILITY | Thousand Oaks, California

While playing at Louisville High School, Luderer played both third and in the outfield and was part of the 2020 Mission League championship team. Individually, she was named all-league first team as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Most recently, she was ranked 68th in the country for the class of 2023 by Extra Innings Softball.

Statistically, she hit .406 as a freshman with five home runs, 10 RBI and two stolen bases, which increased as a sophomore to a .412 batting average with three home runs, 22 RBI and 17 stolen bases. In her most recent year, Luderer hit .397 with five home runs, 26 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

At the club level, the utility player played for Athletics Wellbaum and Firecrackers Rico, where her team qualified for 3 PGF Premier national championships and placed 3rd in the Alliance National championship.

Of note, her father, Brian Luderer, played professional baseball in the minor leagues for nine years.

On why UNM: When I visited the University, I got a great feeling about the school, softball program, and how future coaches and teammates would be.

Karly Smith | OF | Scottsdale, Arizona

From Horizon High School in Arizona, Smith comes to UNM as a four-year varsity starter and was named to the first team all-district and all-region teams in 2021 and 2002, as well as was named the varsity team MVP in 2022. In addition to playing softball, she also played badminton where she was named to the first team all-district and all-region in 2022 and earned the 2022 Varsity Badminton Principle Award.

Playing for the Arizona Storm club team, the team were 2022 TCS National Gold Champions and produced a top-10 finish at the 2022 Colorado Sparkler Power Pool and a fifth-place finish at the 2022 Top Gun Invitational.

On why UNM: The coaches and the program are so amazing and immediately felt like a perfect fit.

Smith intends to major in business at UNM.

Danae Vasquez-Dickson | OF | Grapevine, Texas

An outfielder at Colleyville Heritage High School, Vasquez-Dickson was named all-district MVP and played for Glory Adkinds Gold 18U.

On why UNM: I love the players and the coaches and it is a place I would love to be for four years!