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From Mount Hood Community College
to The Washington Huskies

By Kelly Romo

From Mount Hood Community College
to The Washington Huskies

In the collegiate softball world, Ava Carroll’s journey is inspiring. Ava is a standout center fielder with a powerful left-handed bat and glove, and she has already carved a significant path in her young career. Her journey from a small t-ball team in Wilsonville, Oregon, to the brink of Division I play with the Washington Huskies is a story of dedication, resilience and outstanding talent.
Ava Carroll’s love for softball began when she was five years old, with a small t-ball organization in Wilsonville, where she quickly developed a passion for the game. By nine, she joined the Canby Rebels, a move that marked the beginning of her long-term commitment to competitive softball. This organization, later known as the Oregon Rebels, became her home for eight transformative years. It was there that she honed her skills, developed her athletic abilities, and began to dream big.
Ava credits much of her success to the mentors who guided her along the way. Chief among them is Ty Kraft, her coach from ages ten to fourteen, who provided unwavering support and encouragement. Ty was always there for her and helped her navigate the ups and downs of the game. During her senior year of high school, Lindsay Monk was crucial in preparing her for the next level. Additionally, Brittany Hendrickson, her coach at Mt. Hood Community College and a former mentor during her 16U club softball days, was instrumental in refining her skills and boosting her confidence.
Balancing the rigors of academics and athletics is no small feat, but Ava has excelled in both arenas through time management and an unwavering work ethic. At Mt. Hood Community College, she and her teammates spent eight hours in the library for weekly study hall. It was all about setting priorities and making the most of every moment. Her training schedule at Mt. Hood was intense, but a mix of in-person and online classes allowed for a more flexible schedule. Mornings were dedicated to classes, followed by afternoon practices and weightlifting sessions. Her season was not without its challenges. The grueling “hell week” during winter break tested her physical and mental limits but ultimately forged a stronger, more cohesive team. Grinding five to six days a week for five months was exhausting, but it paid off when she and her teammates saw the results.
Ava’s leadership and enthusiasm had a profound impact on her team. A testament to this was her electrifying walk-off home run against their rivals, Lower Columbia. They lost the first game and were down 9-5 in the second game of a doubleheader. Her team rallied in the seventh inning to tie it up, and then Ava hit a home run in the eighth for the win. Her infectious love for the game has also inspired her teammates. Known for her intense focus and energy, her teammates affectionately call out, “Ava loves softball” whenever she gets intense or steps up to bat. To young athletes aspiring to reach similar heights, Ava would like to tell them to never doubt themselves or give up. Sometimes, taking a step back will help you take twenty steps forward.
Ava’s outstanding performance on the field has earned her numerous accolades. She was astonished to be named the NWAC All-American League Softball Player and Baden Athlete of the Year. Reflecting on her achievements, she says, “It’s surreal and insane to me. I still can’t wrap my head around it.” Among her many awards, being recognized as the South Region Most Valuable Player is her favorite. Competing in a conference filled with exceptional talent, this recognition holds a special place in her heart. Despite all the acclaim, Ava remains humble and continually amazed by the level of talent among her teammates and opponents.
Looking ahead, Ava Carroll is set to join the Washington Huskies, a decision she made with confidence and excitement. The Huskies were the first to reach out to her, and a visit to their campus solidified her choice. She fell in love with the campus and recognized the dedication and care of the coaching staff. The Huskies have so much love and support behind them. It just felt right to Ava. As she prepares to enter the Division I arena, she is eager to forge new bonds and compete at a higher level. Ava looks forward to making new friends, playing high-level softball, and creating lasting memories.
Ava Carroll’s story is still unfolding, but her remarkable achievements and unwavering determination hint at a future filled with promise and success. As she dons the Huskies uniform next season, the softball world will undoubtedly be watching, eager to see what this rising star will accomplish next.

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