South Peace News
Sarah Willier has pitched her way to an athletic scholarship in women’s fastball at a university in the United States.
The woman from Sucker Creek Cree Nation east of High Prairie received a scholarship from Westcliff University in Irvine, California.
Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she still presses on to a reach a prime goal in life.
“I am hoping COVID-19 doesn’t change my dreams I have had since I was 12,” says Willier, 21.
“But of course, with unprecedented change, there will be adversity and you need to adapt to continue on your path.”
Westcliff is a four-year university that specializes in education and business programs.
“I chose Westcliff because it has my program and offers a high level of fastball,” Willier says.
She is currently working on a Bachelor of Business Administration, which she plans to complete at Westcliff in the next two years.
Several contacts the past two years led to Westcliff.
“I was actually about to sign to a different program in the midwest,” Willier says.
But, with COVID-19 and the NCAA giving spring eligibility back, seniors [fourth-year students] got to stay.
“After a call that the current pitcher was staying, I was scrambling to find hope for another two more years of fastball,” Willier says.
“One of the contacts I made through the program I was at, which happens to be one of my best friends, mentioned Westcliff University to me during April and I thought why not just contact the coach.”
After she proved her skills to the coach, Willier was selected by Westcliff.
“She decided I would be a component to the family and invited me to join the Warrior softball program fall in 2020,” Willier says.
“Besides playing softball in southern California, I am also so excited to be in a warmer climate by the beach and pool.”
She has come a long way on the diamond, inspired by her parents Lucas and Marcie Willier, to switch from soccer.
“I started playing softball because my parents decided I had enough of soccer and that I should try something different at age 10,” Willier says.
“Thankfully, they did because it led me to so many great opportunities and life experiences.”
Except for her parents, fastball and baseball run in the family.
“I was hesitant to start playing,” Willier says.
“When I first tried it out, I fell in love with the game instantly.”
At age 16, she moved to Victoria, BC, where she played fastball at Lambrick Park Secondary School.
“It is a baseball and softball academy where we learn more complex softball skills and be prepared for life as a college athlete,” Willier says.
She has played on several teams that placed in several provincial and national championships, including fourth in Canada.
In 2017, she played for the Victoria Devils that finished second in a tournament in Colorado.
“It is one of the most competitive softball tournaments in the USA with more than 100 teams participating,” Willier says.
She continues her growth in the game by coaching.
“I got the opportunity to take a Little League softball team to the World Series in 2018 to represent Canada,” Willier says.
She was chosen for her second international tournament as a coach for Team Alberta in U17 girls’ fastball for North American Indigenous Games.