Photo by Andrew Ottoson
Prairie High School alum Hailey Danly is headed to Walla Walla Community College to play softball and study pre-engineering.
As of Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Prairie Pirates softball standout Hailey Danly — a talented setter with the PHS volleyball program — is headed to Walla Walla Community College for college softball and pre-engineering.
“I’m going to try a degree in civil engineering,” Danly said. “During school, when we were looking into different careers and jobs, I liked math and the idea of what you can do behind the scenes to make roads and bridges and things like that. I was looking into it and found that civil engineering allows people to have jobs in small communities like Cottonwood and Grangeville. I really like the idea of staying in a small community and civil engineering has job opportunities you can take wherever you want to go.”
Walla Walla’s pre-engineering program — a two-year program — will allow Danly to complete her core classes that she’ll need for the full degree. After finishing at Walla Walla, she said she intends to finish the degree at University of Idaho.
Walla Walla softball coach Justin Speer reached out to Danly for that sport while Danly was pursuing a spot with the volleyball team.
“His wife is the volleyball coach, and I was going to attend an open gym for her,” Danly said. “He heard about me through her and asked me about playing softball.”
Walla Walla — a town of 31,000 where the community college enrollment is about 12,000 — had the close-knit feel Danly was looking for.
“When touring the campus, it wasn’t like a three-mile hike around town,” she said.
She also considered North Idaho College, but personal connections to Walla Walla won out.
Kamiah alum Bailey Nygaard and PHS principal Carrie Nygaard told her “it’s just a great school to go to.”
She credited a number of PHS coaches and teachers for boosting her prospects, including Travis Mader, but also one of the referees high school sports fans recognize all over.
“Mr. Mader, he told me I was good enough to go on,” she said. “That helped me keep working.”
She said official Ken Hobart helped connect her to Speer.
“And of course Mr. [Jeff] Martin, my coach, helped me make some videos and talked with coaches and sent lots of information about me,” she said.
She said Speer looked mainly at her offensive skills.
As for high school memories, back-to-back volleyball championships will go with her “forever,” she said. “I loved volleyball, because we meshed so well.”
She said Prairie has “an attitude toward student-athletes...most of the coaches are teachers, so they understand the workload. They’d teach us what we needed to know in class and give us just enough homework to push us.”