From staff reports
MIFFLINTOWN - Juniata High School senior softball player Kristen Pray has made her college plans known.
Pray has signed a letter of intent to attend Division I Robert Morris University in Western Pennsylvania.
Kristen Pray, center, is flanked by her parents Dave and Pam as she signs as national letter of intent to play softball at Robert Morris. Joining her are, back, from left, Krunch Gold coach Steve Mumma, former Juniata athletic director Sharon Fulmer-Storey, Juniata principal Ed Apple, Juniata assistant coach Dave Cisney and coach Brian Sheaffer.
Juniata coach Brian Sheaffer appreciated the historic part of the signing.
"I may be forgetting someone way back, but I believe this is the first D1 signing for a Juniata softball player," he said. "I'm looking forward to the spring to see what she can do in her senior year."
Steve Mumma, who coaches Pray as a member of the Krunch Gold ASA travel team, said, "I couldn't be more proud of KP. She has worked the lion's share of her life for this day."
Pray talked about her college choice and the road that has led to this point.
"I wanted to go to RMU because I love the small school feel and the girls on the team are great, the coach too," she said. "I can't wait to go. I have always been aiming for D1 and RMU is the right place for me."
Pray will be studying cyber forensics at Robert Morris. The Colonials' softball program has been among the NCAA's best academically for the past five years, with 16 of 17 players on the Northeast Conference Academic Honor roll in 2013.
The team put together its second straight 30-win season last year and won its third straight NEAC softball crown. Pray came in contact with the team's coach through the Krunch.
"When I first contacted him he told me he knew my playing ability well and things went on from there," she said.
Her father, Dave Pray, who also has been her coach in the past, will tell you it is very worth it, not just to see his daughter reaching such a goal but in the large payoff that a scholarship brings for her education.
Kristen Pray, one of four Krunch players signing national letters of intent this week, added a distinctly personal note.
"You cannot be afraid to be great," she said. "There are so many who want to see you fail when you strive to set yourself apart and pursue big goals that you have to ignore it all and do what you need to do. I loved all my teams when I was younger, but I knew I couldn't get to D1 without going to the best travel team I could ... There's no place else here where you can be on a team like that."