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The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Cerny: First NAIA Softball Player to Sign WPF Contract

Emily Cerny, USAO alum, continues to make softball history at the professional level
Emily+Cerny%2C+in+her+last+season+as+a+Drover%2C+starts+a+chant+with+her+teammates+in+the+dugout+to+get+the+energy+levels+up.
Laura Barrios Bardi
Emily Cerny, in her last season as a Drover, starts a chant with her teammates in the dugout to get the energy levels up.

As she always does, Emily Cerny, 2022 USAO alum, accomplished another historic feature as she signed a contract with the Oklahoma City Spark. With Cerny signing to the Spark, she became the first NAIA player to compete in the Women’s Professional Fastpitch League (WPF). Cerny will join USAO’s head softball coach Jadyn Wallis, as she is the pitching coach for the OKC Spark. 

Cerny said she is incredibly thankful for the opportunity and hopes it pushes other students to follow in her footsteps.  

“Me being from the NAIA, I hope it opens doors for other NAIA athletes to be here,” Cerny said, in an interview with News 9.  

The big decision to begin playing for the Spark has already inspired some of Cerny’s former teammates and classmates. Tori James, 2022 USAO graduate, and Morgen Hollingshed, 2023 USAO graduate, both coach at Alex Public Schools with the basketball team and softball team, respectively. James and Hollingshed took a group of their female athletes to a Spark game, the players watched the game and eventually got to talk to Cerny and other teammates on the field.

Cerny has had a storied career in softball as she helped USAO win the NAIA National Championship in 2018, where she also won the NAIA Softball World Series MVP that same year. Additionally, she led USAO to two 3rd place finishes in the NAIA World Series in 2019 and 2022.  

Another team achievement was helping USAO hold the longest win streak recorded in NAIA softball history with 59 straight wins from 2018-2019. Cerny also was named the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) Pitcher of the Year five times, four-time NAIA All-American selection, and NAIA Pitcher of the Year three times.  

Cerny also owns nine different records in the NAIA that include most game appearances, most complete games, most innings played in, most no-hitter games as a pitcher, most perfect games as a pitcher, most games started, most shutout games as a pitcher, most strikeouts thrown, and the most wins out of any NAIA softball player. She held a career win-loss record of 144-22 during her time as a Drover.  

Despite Cerny’s numerous accomplishments, she has maintained a humble attitude about herself.  

“I’ve always tried to be the hardest worker in the room, and that never goes unnoticed,” Cerny said, during an interview with News 9.  

She also spoke about how excited she is to be able to play softball professionally in her home state of Oklahoma, rather than going out of the U.S. to continue her career like many other players has. 

She signed with the Oklahoma City Spark on July 22, and Cerny has participated in five games for them. Cerny hasn’t visited the plate as of Aug. 7, but she has seen eight innings from the rubber. In that time she has faced 34 batters, striking out two and walking three. Cerny has an ERA of 5.63. It’s also noteworthy that she joined the Spark midseason, and she siad she looks to continue working hard for her new team. 

With a record of 20-14, the OKC Spark is ranked second in the WPF league, behind the Texas Smoke, with only two games left in the regular season. The Spark will play in the semifinals Aug. 11-13, and potentially in WPF Championship games Aug. 15-17.  

For those interested in watching Cerny continue her professional career and supporting OKC’s softball program, tickets are available here: https://www.okcspark.com/tickets.

 

Gary Jackson is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. 

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About the Contributors
Gary Jackson, Sports Editor
Gary is a third-year communication major from Kingston. He works as a resident assistant (RA) and as a host for the Drover Talk podcast at USAO. Gary began writing for The Trend in January 2022, and has interned with the Madill Record and Marietta Monitor newspapers during the past two summers. When Gary isn’t attending class and working, you can watch him making the game-winning catch at the ultimate frisbee game, hanging out with friends, or visiting with his family. Experience with The Trend: Sports Editor: Nov. 2023 - present Senior Writer: Dec. 2022 - Nov. 2023 Contributing Writer: Jan. 2022 - Dec. 2022
Laura Barrios Bardi, Contributing Photographer
Laura Barrios Bardi a third-year art major from El Paso, TX. Laura currently works for USAO's Sports Information Department as a photographer. She is also a member of USAO's track and field team. Her hobbies include stargazing, spending time with friends, and working towards elevating her photography skills.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Photographer: Nov. 2022 - present