Mingus Union High School senior multisport athlete Nikki Zielinski signed to play softball at the College of Southern Idaho.
Zielinski, a Sedona native, has also played volleyball, soccer and basketball for the Marauders. She said she signed with the community college because it offered immediate playing time and an opportunity to get a start on her intended field of studies.
“I think [at] a junior college I felt more comfortable, it’s your two years to really grow and develop as a player. Playing time is a big factor in that too,” said Zielinski, who will play middle infield.
Last season, Zielinski was a Second Team All-Conference 4A selection, as well as First Team All-Grand Canyon Region. She batted .525 with 53 hits and 46 RBI, 45 runs scored and a team-leading 10 home runs.
After finishing her time north, she said that she would like to continue playing at a four-year university. The strong Golden Eagles program, which usually qualifies for the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament, sends a lot of its players on to those schools.
In the 2017 season, the team finished 42-19 overall and 29-11 in Scenic West Athletic Conference play.
Zielinski, who also considered junior colleges in Arizona and Florida, but Southern Idaho “felt like home.”
“It’s definitely a huge step I’ve been working for this for a lot of years now. Definitely a lot of emotions but they’re all good ones,” she said.
Zielinski started playing at tee-ball and started club at 12 years old, when she knew that it was the sport she wanted to pursue most.
“It’s a really big team sport, I love being a part of a team. You can also grow as an individual player as well. And just being mentored by your coaches and your teammates.”