That was the theme of the Black Hawk College softball team in 2022-23.
Under second-year head coach Tarah Rayos, the Braves were 32-25-1 overall – an improvement from the previous season’s 25-25 record – and 17-2-1 in the Arrowhead Conference.
It was the most wins overall since 2014 and the first softball Arrowhead Conference Championship since 2014. The Braves also made their first Region 4 Tournament appearance since 2014.
“I am very proud of this group for challenging themselves this season,” Rayos said. “Each year we are getting stronger and with that, we are building a great culture.”
From 2021-22 to 2022-23, the Braves improved in at bats, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs and total bases.
In NJCAA Region 4 Division II, the Braves were first in at bats, second in doubles, third in hits, extra base hits and total bases, and fourth in home runs.
“Our sophomores were not satisfied with how their freshman year ended and wanted to redeem themselves and it showed with their work ethic,” Rayos said.
“We also had a very talented freshman class that worked hard for us,” she said. “We have great leadership coming back in the fall.”
Individual player athletic awards and accomplishments for 2022-23:
All-Region Teams – Division II (District B)
- First Team – Kamryn (Kam) Utendorf, infielder
- Second Team – Drew Clark, catcher
Region 4 All-Tournament Team – Kam Utendorf
- Kam Utendorf – Arrowhead Conference Softball MVP and All-Conference infielder
- Drew Clark – All-Conference catcher
- Emily Gamble – All-Conference pitcher
- Ally Reed – All-Conference outfielder
Pitcher Katelynn Emerick – 1st in Region 4 and 4th in Division II in saves (5)
Black Hawk College 2022-23 Female Student-Athlete of the Year – Kam Utendorf
Arrowhead Conference Coach of the Year – Tarah Rayos
BHC Coach of the Year – Tarah Rayos
Academic awards for 2022-23:
- Highest team GPA in BHC athletics for the 2022-23 academic year with a 3.43 cumulative team GPA.
- Arrowhead Conference Academic All-Conference Team
- Kenadie Buysse of Colona, IL
- Drew Clark of Rock Island, IL
- Katelynn Emerick of Geneseo, IL
- Bailey Emery of Davenport, IA
- Emily Gamble of Franksville, WI
- Olivia King of Sycamore, IL
- Katie Lindauer of Bettendorf, IA
- Laney Parker of Springfield, IL
- Ally Reed of Albany, IL
- Ava Terry of Orion, IL
- Kam Utendorf of Columbus Grove, OH
- Ashley VanBeveran of East Galesburg, IL
- Rachel Worley of Moline, IL
- Easton/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athlete Awards – 3.5 or higher GPA for 2022-23
- Kenadie Buysse
- Drew Clark
- Katelynn Emerick
- Bailey Emery
- Liz Fish
- Emily Gamble
- Olivia King
- Katie Lindauer
- Laney Parker
- Ally Reed
- Kam Utendorf
- Rachel Worley