By Steven Martinez, senior
The Falcons’ softball team has been successful over the years. The last couple years, a large part of its success has been attributed to the solid performance game after game by senior short-stop Nina Manser.
Manser came to Friends University as a junior from the Iowa Lakes junior college in northern Iowa. Nina is originally from Granada Hills, Calif.
As a freshman at Iowa Lakes, Manser was awarded Defensive Player of the Year honors, along with first team All-Conference honors. Her sophomore year, she was honored with first team All-Conference and third team All-American honors.
The softball coach at Iowa Lakes and the Friends softball coach Tony Segovia are good friends. While Manser was searching for a school to attend after junior college, her previous coach gave Segovia a call, getting Manser connected with Friends, where she has been the starting short-stop for the last two years.
“Playing softball at Friends has been an amazing experience. The coaches here will do anything for any of us girls, and they always put us before them,” said Manser.
In the 2010 season at Friends as a junior, Manser received Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors once and first team All-Conference honors. This season as a senior, she has been named KCAC Player of the Week once, the week of March 23.
Manser said she has been playing softball since she was 6 years old, and had her father coach her until she went to college.
“Softball has given me an unexplainable relationship between me and my dad,” said Manser.
However, right before the season of her freshman year, Manser’s dad died of a heart attack. The tragedy of her father is the leading explanation as to why softball means so much to her today.
At Friends, Manser studies health management, and after college she aspires to be a personal trainer. Eventually, she wants to move on and work for the American Heart Association doing fundraising.
Manser is easily seen as a leader and motivator by her teammates, with her love and passion for the game.
“Nina is a strong leader, who stays focused on the tasks at hand while pushing and motivating her teammates every practice and every game,” sophomore outfielder Cheyenne Stewart said.
“My team is very important to me; these girls mean everything to me on and off the field. We spend nearly every day together, and they are friends that will be in my life forever,” said Manser.
Last night Manser, along with five other seniors, played in their senior game where they won easily 12-2 and 14-6 against the University of St. Mary.
“I have only three weeks of college softball left in my life,” said Manser. And she plans on making the most out of them.
The next game Manser and the rest of the Falcons softball team will play is at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at Sterling College.