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Softball: Holy Family juniors push back against resistance to nab D-I homes

Abby Edwards commits to Boise State, while Kuszak eyes Wisconsin

Holy Family High School junior Abby Edwards (5) makes contact during a game against  Erie High School on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Broomfield, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)
Holy Family High School junior Abby Edwards (5) makes contact during a game against Erie High School on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Broomfield, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

There’s a good bit of resistance up against the state’s current crop of high school softball players looking to get recruited. And the pandemic isn’t doing any favors.

But over at Holy Family High School, the chase is onward. And the momentous force that pushed its softball program to a second state title in three years in October appears to have carried on into personal success for two of its junior standouts .

Shortly following the fall season, both all-state catcher Abby Edwards and touted shortstop Ava Kuszak committed to Division-I programs, with Edwards headed to the Mountain West to play for Boise State and Kuszak to the Big 10 and Wisconsin.

The cushy landing spots come while so many other high schoolers hoping to land on a college team have failed to gain any traction with the restrictions COVID-19 has placed on recruiting.

The sparkling pairing, who announced their commitments via Twitter in late November, humbly consider themselves fortunate.

“Being from Colorado, all we do is travel all summer (with club softball),” Edwards said. “We go to California three times and Chicago and Kansas City and we couldn’t do any of that … Coaches couldn’t come watch us, so it definitely put 2021 and 2022s a year behind for sure.”

Aside from the pandemic, the big-time commitments of Edwards and Kuszak could be seen as a sign of better things to come for Colorado softball recruits.

Or perhaps just an anomaly.

It’s well known that top programs in the country have rarely made it a habit of heavily recruiting from the thin airs of the Centennial State. Check any number of recruiting rankings online, and you’ll find them well lacking in local names.

Holy Family's Ava Kuszak watches a ...
Brad Cochi/
Holy Family’s Ava Kuszak watches a pitch during her team’s game against Erie on Thursday, Aug. 20, at Erie High School.

“It’s hard coming out of Colorado,” said Kuszak, who admitted the stark contrast of talent from players in-state to hotbeds like California and Texas. Then pointed out Colorado’s underrated status: “I think some college coaches overlook it a little bit, which kind of sucks, but you got to get your name out there. It’s hard out of Colorado because it’s like ‘Eh, well there’s one or two’. But there’s more than one or two that could definitely go D-I.”

And that’s just around town, really.

Out of the Northern Colorado Athletic Conference alone, player of the year Maddie Kuehl was headed to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles before a coaching change pushed her to Texas Tech.

Mead, which fell to the Tigers in the finals, also had a number of young, intriguing prospects —— including sensational sophomore pitcher Joslynn Veltien.

And, of course, there’s Holy Family, and at its top were names like Edwards and Kuszak.

Edwards, who plays for the Colorado Stars club team out of Boulder, said she visited Boise State in late January right before things were shut down.

It was profound timing looking back.

Per recruiting rules, the state’s premier catcher, who is also a .526 hitter the past two seasons, was able to talk to D-I coaches by September last year. She said the Broncos made their interest known early. She also had strong interest from Colorado State and San Diego.

Kuszak, in the meantime, who actually chose to play club softball for a team out of Nebraska, had already impressed a number of Division-I programs with her skill set in showcases outside the state before the coronavirus hit.

After it struck, it was her game film and the high praise from her coaches that garnered attention. Her final choice was Wisconsin after strongly considering Nebraska and South Carolina.

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