There are times when even the simplest of memories can help one get through a difficult situation.
That has become the case for Mountain Pointe’s Theresa Wilsterman, whose senior season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now nearly two months after the initial decision by the Arizona Interscholastic Association to suspend the spring sports season for two weeks, followed by its cancellation, she uses those memories to think about her career at Mountain Pointe in a positive light, choosing not to dwell on a lost senior season.
“One of my favorite moments playing softball at Mountain Pointe was going on a bus ride to Yuma,” Wilsterman said. “The ride up there was great. Then when we played, we stayed calm and executed when we needed to. When we came back, we were able to let loose and have fun.”
Wilsterman spent four seasons at the Varsity level for the Pride, playing first base every year. As a sophomore, she improved her batting percentage from .233 as a freshman to .378 with 24 RBIs and six home runs.
Her average continued climbing year-after-year. As a junior, it jumped to .388 and was at .526 this season before the rest of the year was canceled due to the pandemic.
Her accolades on the field helped her earn interest from college programs. In February, she signed to play for Dominican University, a division III school in River Forest, Ill.
“There were two main things that really drew me to Dominican,” Wilsterman said. “First, the coaching staff raved about the high academics there and how the girls were moving on to do great things in life with what they took from college.
“Another thing was the family dynamic. Everyone was super close and even when I took my visit there, it felt like home.”
Having that feeling of comfort and togetherness was important for Wilsterman when making her college decision. She had that same feeling during her time with the Mountain Pointe softball program.
Over the course of her four-year career, Wilsterman emerged as one of the key leaders for the Pride program. She looked up to former infielder Araceli Pesqueira, who signed with Grand Canyon University in 2019. Pesqueira taught her the ins and outs of the program as she got older, and also showed her the ropes of how to lead by example for the younger players on the team.
“She was my go-to girl for three years,” Wilsterman said of Pesqueira.
Wilsterman took Samantha Trujillo and Gina Jackson, the Pride’s only two freshman players, under her wing this season. She recognized their talent immediately, and despite only having a limited number of games together, knew they had the ability to make an impact on the team.
Like Pesqueira did for her, Wilsterman showed them what it took to succeed at the varsity level.
“I know they felt the anxiety most freshmen do when they first play varsity,” Wilsterman said. “Just talking to them and going over everything we do really helped. I felt that bond with them.”
When the initial ruling from the AIA to suspend sports for two weeks came to fruition, Wilsterman held out hope they would be able to salvage at least some of the season. She came into the year with a good feeling, one that led her to believe the 2020 team had the ability to contend for a region title and make a deep postseason run.
Much of that belief stemmed from the talent below her and the rest of the seniors, including Trujillo. But as she saw the coronavirus ravage other parts of the world, she started to sense things would only get worse in Arizona and the United State before it got better.
“I was definitely nervous it was going to get to the point it is at now,” Wilsterman said. “I just stayed optimistic. I hoped we could come back, but I knew it was bad in other countries.
“When everything got canceled, everyone was upset. I appreciate all the moments I got to experience with coach (James) Bradford and everyone on the team.”
As her focus shifts to preparing for college ball, Wilsterman is confident the Mountain Pointe program is heading in the right direction with the younger girls moving up. She believes not only her class but the seniors before her set forth a legacy of hard work and dedication that will help them succeed next season.
“I think Mountain Pointe can really rise as a program,” Wilsterman said. “Coach Bradford is great and puts a lot of effort into training everybody and bringing us all on the same level. I think girls like Sam (Trujillo) can do something great for the program because she has that grit as a freshman.
“A bunch of the girls there just love playing. They aren’t forced into it, they just love the game. They all have the ability to do something special on the field.”