Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

Spending summer on the field

By Ashlee De Wit | Jun 24, 2013
Photo by: Ashlee De Wit Soon-to-be IWC graduate Ayla Serrano coaches third base in a W-MU softball game earlier this season. Serrano is the team’s head coach.

For many of the Iowa Wesleyan College softball players — and their assistant coach — the spring season was not enough.

After their season ended, five of the Tigers continue to frequent the diamond, now as coaches for high school and junior high softball teams.

All the coaches note that they enjoy watching the high school softball players improve their game, and all agree that its well worth devoting a summer to helping them learn and have fun. Of course, the coaches manage to have a pretty good time on the field, too.

LEXY DETERMAN, the athletic department administrative assistant and assistant softball coach at IWC, is the head softball coach at Danville for the second season in a row.

"I was just looking around for open jobs — I knew that I wanted to coach over the summer," Determan said, explaining how she got started. "(IWC head softball coach and AD Mike Hampton) mentioned that Danville was looking."

So far, it’s been an enjoyable experience for Determan and for her players.

"The girls are always really entertaining; they're really upbeat all year, and they make me laugh," Determan said. "They have a lot of fun, and I have fun, too."

For KRISTINE BECKS, who just finished her sophomore year at IWC, Danville was a perfect fit for her first year as a coach.

"It just kind of fell into place — I wanted to coach, and Ayla (Serrano) got the head coaching job at W-MU," Becks said.

Serrano was Determan’s assistant at Danville last season, so when she moved over to Winfield-Mt. Union, the spot opened up for Becks.

“I wanted to start as an assistant,” she said.

Becks is majoring in early childhood education, and in her first season, she has been enjoying her time as a coach, saying that she may continue it in the future.

"I like teaching them and watching them improve their skills, and seeing how much fun they're having," Becks said.

Meanwhile, AYLA SERRANO is in her first season as a head coach, working with the girls at W-MU.

"I really wanted to share what I had learned in softball," Serrano said. "I didn't have a connection to Winfield, I just heard about (the job opening) through IWC. I plan on staying in the area, and I want to get a program established."

Serrano, who will graduate from IWC in August with degrees in biology, chemistry and earth science, wants to work in the health field.

But for now, she’s enjoying her time on the diamond.

"The girls find a way to put a smile on my face, even when the scores aren't the best,” Serrano said. “I love coaching, I love the game. I love helping them learn to love the game I love."

HALEIGH COWAN was "born and raised" in Mt. Pleasant, and is going into her senior year at IWC.

Now the softball player is taking her turn as a coach, serving as the assistant coach at Mediapolis.

"(My favorite part of coaching is) working with the girls, and seeing how much they can improve on a day-to-day basis," Cowan said. "You can tell them to fix one little thing in their swing, and they'll get a hit the next inning."

Cowan hopes that she’ll have the opportunity to continue coaching for a long time.

"I'm in the criminal justice field, and it's hard to do both unless you get a job in a school — but I'd really like to be a school police officer," she said.

TORI BEAVER, a 2013 IWC graduate, wraps up the list as a co-head coach for junior high at Iowa City Regina.

It’s her second year as a head coach, and she had been a volunteer coach since she graduated from Regina in 2009.

"I coach with Missy Seuerbauch; we've played together our whole lives — we're best friends," Beaver said. "We try to make the girls better and love seeing how they improve every day."

Beaver majored in exercise science, is going into physical therapy and studying at DMU, and would like to eventually take over a high school softball program — ideally, a program close to home.

"I'll go wherever life takes me, but I'd like to stay in the Iowa City area," she said.

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