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Aspiring Sports Journalist Meets the Gatorade New Jersey Softball Player of the Year
Ava Metzger, a 2021 graduate of Colts Neck High School in Colts Neck, New Jersey, just finished the school’s best season ever, resulting in the school’s first state championship. Metzger also won 2020-21 Gatorade New Jersey Softball Player of the Year. Metzger’s leadership skills, ability to overcome challenges, and all around talent, led her and her team to an exceptional season.
In the 2021 season, the Colt Neck Cougars won the Monmouth County Championship and more importantly, the New Jersey Group 3 State Softball Championships. Metzger, a pitcher, played an immense role throughout the season. Metzger finished the season with a 0.50 ERA with a total of 276 strikeouts, second in the state, during 26 games. At the plate, Metzger ended with a .488 average, three home runs, and 35 RBIs.
Most Memorable High School Moment
Metzger’s most memorable high school moment was beating Cranford 2-0 to deliver the state championship. The game was a pitcher’s showdown, going 0-0 into the 5th inning. The Cougars got bases loaded and walked in a run. Then, in the top of the 7th, Metzger provided an insurance run, with an RBI double. Metzger and her family found out she won Gatorade Player of the Year right before the championship game. “It added extra pressure because I had to live up to my expectations and thankfully I did,” said Metzger.
Impact of COVID
In March of 2020, Metzger’s high school team was stripped of their season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Metzger says “As a team, I think we would have had chances of winning championships, so for our 2021 season, we came back fully prepared.” Individually, during the quarantine break, Ava worked out everyday in order to maintain her skills and prevent bad habits. This was not the first setback that Metzger faced in her softball career. During her sophomore season, Metzger slipped on the mound and fractured three bones in her leg, resulting in her having to heal for 8-12 weeks. She described the recovery time as devastating.
The Challenges of Being A Freshman Varsity Player
Metzger expressed how during her freshman season, many players were bitter towards her because she was younger but had a reliable starting spot. “As a freshman, the Colts Neck coaches would always say to change the culture” and Metzger embodied this objective. This past season, the Colts Neck softball team was young, containing just four seniors. Due to this, Metzger felt responsible to make sure that everyone felt included and worked to prevent what she experienced as an underclassmen.
Next year, Metzger will be a freshman at Manhattan College as part of the school’s softball program. “During my freshman year, I decided I wanted to play college softball. I went to recruitment camps and travel showcases,” Metzger says. She found the Manhattan College program suited her both academically and in athletics. Metzger, an excellent student, finished high school with a 4.44 GPA and will major in childhood education with a minor in psychology.
Credit to Her Parents, Coaches, Teammates
Metzger’s parents have played a substantial role in where she is today. Her father, who threw javelin in college, helped Metzger with the recruiting process. “My parents have sacrificed so much between all the lessons and busy weekends taking me to games,” says Metzger. Winning the title of 2020-21 Gatorade New Jersey Softball Player of the Year Provides Metzger with validation for all of the hard work she has put into her training. She says that she was shocked and grateful to even be nominated for the award, let alone to win it. Metzger thanks her coaches and teammates for her incredible experience on the Colts Neck softball team and can’t wait to play in college.
Natalie Brevick is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate Program at Campbell High School in Smyrna, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. In her freshman year, she covered Campbell High School sports for Cobb County Courier, a local newspaper. Natalie has played softball since she was seven years old on both school and travel teams and currently plays outfield for Campbell Spartans Fastpitch. When she’s not playing softball, Natalie is rooting on her beloved Atlanta Braves & Nashville Predators.
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