Nov. 15, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
With a national reputation as one of the top programs in America, Florida State University softball coach Dr. JoAnne Graf has the ability to bring in the best players not only in the region, but at the national level as well. That was never more evident when the winningest coach in NFCA history signed four players to National Letters of Intent.
Making up the Seminoles’ Class of 2007 is catcher/utility player Robin Ahrberg (Stillwater, Okla.), pitcher Terese Gober (McDonough, Ga.), outfielder Carly Wynn (Sharpsburg, Ga.) and outfielder Monica Montez (Corona, Calif.).
“All of these kids are going to come in and replace an immediate need that we have due to graduation,” Graf said. “Sometimes when you have recruits come in they may have to play behind someone for a year, but that’s not the case this year. We expected all of them to come in and contribute immediately next season.”
A four-year All-Frontier Conference selection at Stillwater High School, Ahrberg can play virtually any spot on the field. She capped a tremendous senior campaign, in which she hit .406 with 27 RBIs, with All-State honors from the Oklahoma High School Sports Magazine. An All-Region selection this season, she finished her career this fall as the all-time SHS leaders in hits (154), RBIs (103) and doubles (33).
As a junior, Ahrberg was named Stillwater Newspress Player of the Year as well as the Lady Pioneer’s team MVP. A four-year honor roll student at Stillwater, she was a member of the Tulsa Eagles travel team that won the 2004 AFA 18U Championship. In addition to her talents on the softball field, Ahrberg excels on the Lady Pioneer’s track and field team as a state finalist in both the shot put (fourth) and discus (sixth) last season.
“Robin plays a number of positions, particularly catcher, and with BillyAnne (Gay) leaving that’s the spot we’ve recruited Robin for,” Graf noted. “In addition she can serve as a back-up infielder or outfielder, so she can fill a lot of needs. Primarily she’ll help with our depth at catcher, but we can use her in many different situations.”
Ahrberg chose Florida State over WCWS regulars Texas, Oklahoma and LSU as well as 2005 national champion Michigan.
One of the most highly touted prep pitchers in the country, Gober will strengthen an already talented pitching rotation. After three years at Stockbridge High School, she played her final year at Union Grove HS where she led the Lady Wolverines to the semifinals of the GACA state tournament. A GACA Class 5A All-State selection, she compiled a 19-5 record with one save, a 0.23 ERA and 313 strikeouts in 180 innings.
In her final year at Stockbridge, Gober posted a 29-6 ledger in 240 innings with a 0.15 ERA and 397 strikeouts as she was named GACA 4A First-Team All-State as well as First-Team All-Region for the second year in a row. As a sophomore she was chosen All-Southern Crescent and Pine State Mortgage Player of the Year.
“Terese brings the power pitcher back to our team,” Graf commented. “The three pitchers we have now are more movement pitchers, but Terese brings pure speed. That’s going to add another dimension to our pitching rotation which we’re excited to have and it’s really going to help our depth.”
Last year she was a member of the GA Titans travel team that won the ASA state championships and took fourth at the ASA National Tournament. Gober picked FSU over ACC rival Georgia Tech and 2005 WCWS participant Alabama. She is just as talented in the classroom where she is a three-year honor roll member.
Continuing the prominent list of recruits out of California, Montez is one of the top players in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) going into her senior season this spring. As a junior at Corona High School last year, she collected All-Island Empire honors from the Los Angeles Times and All-County recognition from the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Twice named All-Mountain View League, Montez hit .377 as a junior and was named Most Consistent Hitter in the league by the LA Times. Corona finished the season 25-2 overall, 14-1 in the league and advance to the CIF tournament. During her sophomore year the Panthers advanced to the championship game of the CIF playoffs. In addition to her success on the field, Montez excels in the classroom as a two-year Academic All-Mountain View League selection.
“Carly and Monica both bring two good bats to our line-up,” Graff said. “We lose three outfielders this year to graduation and we’re only signing two so with only four outfielders next year they are all going to see a lot of playing time. Both Carly and Monica are left-handed hitters and they have very good instincts. All four players are hard workers and have expectations of being the best which fits into our philosophy.”
Following in the footsteps of Georgia natives, and current Seminoles LaShaun Davis, Melissa Wood and Whitney Buckmon, Wynn is one of the top hitters not just in the state, but in the entire southeast region. She capped off a tremendous prep career by hitting .517 with 28 RBIs, 34 runs, six home runs and an impressive .908 slugging percentage. For her efforts she was named Player of the Year by The Times-Herald.
Wynn has been no stranger to the GACA All-State and All-Region teams with honors as a junior and sophomore. During her junior season she hit .429 with 29 runs, 35 RBIs, five home runs and a .727 slugging percentage. In addition, she is a four-year All-Coweta-Fayette County team member as well as team MVP. Her prowess carries over to the hardwood where she is a member of the Vikings varsity basketball team as well as the classroom as proven by her three years on the Northgate Honor Roll.
“Recruiting is a combined effort, but Louie (Berndt) heads up our recruiting and anytime you have an exceptional class like the one we have you have to give credit to your recruiting coordinator,” Graf added. “Florida State sells itself, but our staff and our kids do a great job as well.
“The four players we signed are not just great athletes, but also great student and good people and that’s what we’re looking to recruit. They’re really going to help us stay competitive for many, many years.”
After a strong fall season, the Seminoles open the 2006 campaign on February 10 with their Early Bird Tournament. Graf’s squad returns eight starters from a team that advanced to the finals of the Auburn Regional of the NCAA Tournament last season.