Teton High School’s Kortney Hansen has been a three-sport athlete for years.
She will be the first to say that softball is where her heart is, however.
“I just have passion for the game,” said Hansen, the Redskins’ second baseman. “I love every aspect of it. I love being outside, especially being raised in such a beautiful valley.”
By continuing in her favorite sport at the next level, she also makes history.
Upon signing her letter of intent in February to play softball for Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Wash., Hansen became the second Teton athlete to sign with a college softball program. Teton softball coach Richard Berry, who has coached the Redskins since the program began 21 years ago, said Shantel McCashland, a pitcher and 2010 graduate, was the first.
Blue Mountain Community College, Treasure Valley Community College, St. Mary’s (New York) and NAIA schools in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Washington also extended offers to Hansen. She ultimately decided on Big Bend after visiting the campus. Vikings head coach Ray Moffitt also watched her at the 2013 3A state softball tournament in Buhl.
“I was a little torn at first because Big Bend is such a long ways away,” Hansen said. “The coach really made an effort. Touring around the school, I just fell in love with the atmosphere.”
Berry said he anticipates Hansen will do well at the college level and continue to improve.
“Her hitting is really good,” Berry said. “I’m sure she’ll find things she’ll have to work on to really feel good about everything. That’s all part of progression. Those kids at that level, man, they don’t miss much.”
Before heading to Moses Lake in the fall, Hansen will partake in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in July. She will spend 12 days playing softball in Italy as part of American International Sports Teams, which selects high school athletes from across the United States to play overseas in lacrosse, soccer, football, rugby, dance, softball, volleyball, basketball and field hockey.
AIST found Hansen through a recruiting site she created a profile for. It will be her first time traveling outside of the U.S.
“I was pretty excited,” Hansen said. “There was another offer (from AIST) that was going to the Dominican Republic. I debated which one I wanted to go to more. Italy’s always been talked about a lot and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
Hansen, who graduated from Teton on Friday, plans to major in criminal justice and forensic science and transfer to Utah Valley University after completing her associate’s degree. She said representing her family, community and team is what she is most excited for about continuing her career.
“Not many go on at this level,” Hansen said. “I think those of us that do really have something to live up to. I have a quote I kinda live up to: ‘Play for the name on the front of my jersey and make sure they remember the name on the back.’ I really have taken that to heart.”