Two North Surry softball players have chosen Winston-Salem State University.
Coach Willie Hodges joined with Allison Woodbury and Hannah Goins to make their announcement Thursday.
“Allison started when she was 8,” said dad Greg. “She wanted to pitch, and she worked at it really hard.”
Born in San Diego, Allison lived in Surry County from age five until the end of her fifth-grade year. When her parents divorced, Allison lived with her mom in California for six years, but stayed in touch with her family here, including older sister Kayla, who was a softball standout at North Surry and then WSSU.
“Every summer for six weeks and every winter for three weeks, she would go to spend time with her family back there,” mom Rebecca Pallares wrote in e-mail.
“She was always receiving awards for outstanding citizenship and performance in her classes,” said Rebecca. “Allison made friends here in California very quickly, as she does everywhere she goes. She is so outgoing, fun-loving and the constant joker with a heart of gold.”
“Her older sister talked her into coming back and trying to go to Winston-Salem State,” said Greg.
Allison made the tough decision to leave behind her friends, classmates and a stacked AAU team that won the state championship her junior year.
“When she came back, she wasn’t pitching any longer,” said Greg. “But she made a heck of a first baseman.”
Kayla liked WSSU because it was close to home, said Greg. After playing catcher, Kayla spent a year on the coaching staff before moving to Charlotte.
“I cannot say enough good things about this kid,” Kayla said of her younger sister.
“She is absolutely the most humble, hardworking young woman you will ever meet, which is why I am so honored she chose the same school as me,” said Kayla. “Without a doubt I am excited to keep the Ram legacy in the family.
“I think I was more excited to hear my little sister was going there than my own acceptance, only because I know she will leave more of a footprint than I did. I know it gets tough when younger siblings are expected to live up to their older siblings’ history, but there is no doubt that my sister will make her own name one to remember, whether it be academics or athletics.”
Softball, Allison said, “is fun, and I always meet new people doing it. It’s something I’ve always loved, and I think I’d be lost without it.”
In grade school, she played for a Franklin team, then in California she played with a couple of travel teams.
In middle school, she tried basketball but didn’t like it as much as softball.
While Allison had a sister to connect her to WSSU, Hannah already had taken notice of the university because of its strong nursing program.
The coaching staff got its first look at Allison last summer.
“I went to a camp over the summer,” said Allison. Then during this season, one of the coaches came up to see her and Hannah play Surry Central.
Allison said she is getting an athletic scholarship, but is hoping to add some other scholarships to help cover more of the cost.
While her mom was hoping Allison might choose Fresno State University, Rebecca said she was very proud of her daughter and came across the country with husband Rick Pallares to see Allison graduate.
Playing college sports might have seemed like an impossible dream for Hannah after she injured her left knee more than two years ago.
“I played basketball until I tore my ACL my sophomore year,” she said. “I had small tears in my meniscus, too.”
She was playing defense when the knee gave out without any contact.
“I was trying to intercept a pass and didn’t get it,” she said. “So I was trying to stop really fast and go in the other direction. I planted and my leg just kept going.”
During surgery, the surgeon stripped off part of her hamstring to make a replacement anterior collateral ligament.
She said her parents didn’t want her to play basketball after that, so she focused on softball.
“I started playing softball when I was like 7, and I played T-ball and coach-pitch before that.”
What does she love about softball? “Everything.” As third baseman, she said, “I just like it there.”
“I’m a quiet person,” Hannah admitted.
Coach Hodges isn’t much more verbose.
“I proud of them both,” he said. “They are both smart and good ballplayers. They’ll be fine.”
While Surry Community College has a nursing program, Hannah said she likes the idea of going to a university and experiencing all it has to offer.
“This year we have to stay in freshmen dorms, and hopefully we get to room together,” said Allison.
“I’m proud of the fact that she’s going to pursue a degree at the university and have the opportunity to play softball,” said Hannah’s father, Bill, principal of North Surry.
“These are bittersweet times when kids grow up and go off to pursue their dreams,” Bill said.
Along with parents Bill and Lisa, Hannah’s family includes younger brother Jacob.