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Tessa Fanning accepts scholarship from Western New Mexico University
runs the bases for the Marauders in 2010, her senior high school season. VVN/Sean Morris
7/3/2012 12:40:00 PM
By Sean Morris
Tessa Fanning garnered offers to play softball from several Universities after leading the 2012
Roughriders in on-base percentage (.504), and walks (27), with a .382 batting average and 28 RBI.
"I chose Western New Mexico University because of the location and my scholarship offer. I wanted something to pay for my education, and they're willing to do that," said Tessa Fanning.
She also wanted to go back to her natural position behind the plate, and WNMU head coach Angela Slaugh wants Fanning to play catcher again.
"Playing in right field for Yavapai was a big change because I always played catcher, but it was fun," said Fanning. "I prefer playing catcher because you're in every play. There's way more action and it's more fun than any other position."
Tessa was more than effective playing right field for the Roughriders, especially with her bazooka arm, but she was born a catcher. Tessa's dad said her willingness to get dirty as a youngster evidenced her aptitude for the position.
"From day one she put on the gear and that was the only place she wanted to play. She always wanted to roll around in the dirt," said Jody Fanning. "She loved being the backstop--that's also why she was the goalie in soccer. She wanted to be the last line of defense and she became very good at it."
It wasn't long before people started to notice Tessa's standout athleticism.
"We knew Tessa would play softball in college when she was 12. Everybody was telling us she would when she was eight or nine, but we were convinced when she was 12 that she could get a scholarship in either softball or soccer," said Jody Fanning.
Tessa played goalie in high school for Mingus and helped the girls' soccer team win a state championship her senior year. She didn't win any state titles in softball at Mingus, but in her freshman year at Yavapai Tessa was part of a national championship campaign.
Last season the Roughriders lost at regionals, but Tessa said she was still proud of how her team played in an ultra-competitive conference with a high level of play.
Next year Tessa will wear purple and gold for the Mustangs of WNMU, who play in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (Division II). The Mustangs finished under .500 last season. Head coach Angela Slaugh recently dropped interim from her title, and Tessa said Slaugh is a WNMU alumnus. With the addition of Fanning, good things could be brewing in Silver City.
"I want to thank my family because they've been supportive through this whole thing, and I've also got to thank John Brown because he's the one that taught me since I was six years-old --him and my dad. They're the biggest influences in my life," said Tessa Fanning."
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