BY CHRIS KWIECINSKI
of the Scout
After her three-year basketball career, senior Alyson Spinas-Valainis has decided to continue her athletic career at Bradley by joining coach Amy Hayes and the softball team.
“This is a very unique opportunity for me,” Spinas-Valainis said. “Coming to college, I didn’t know what sport I was going to play, but I’ve always been a softball player.”
Hayes said she knew about Spinas-Valainis since she was in high school, and the softball team is excited for her to join them for the rest of the season.
“I actually heard about her before she came to Bradley from a junior college coach who was watching the state championship and heard she was coming to Bradley,” Hayes said. “I’d been hearing about it for about three and a half years now that Alyson had wanted to include softball in her collage repertoire, and she finally came forward. The timing was right, and she’s fitting in well.”
Along with her many basketball accomplishments in high school, which include a McDonald’s All-American nominee, two-time first-team all-state selection and a two-time conference player of the year, Spinas-Valainis also was a two-time first team all-state pitcher with more than 1000 strikeouts in high school.
Spinas-Valainis joins former women’s basketball players Lauren Niemiera, Jenny Van Kirk and Hanna Muegge, who all were on women’s basketball teams for four years and played one or more years for another sport at Bradley. Niemiera and Van Kirk played on the women’s golf team while Muegge ran track for one year.
According to Associate Director of Athletic Communication Jim Rea, Spinas-Valainis joins a long list that dates back to the 1960s when former Academic All-American Dave Lundstrom played on the men’s basketball team and also played golf.
Women’s basketball coach Michael Brooks said he is excited for Spinas-Valainis to continue her athletic career and believes she can do a fine job on the softball diamond.
“We are so excited that Alyson gets to continue her collegiate career in the circle,” Brooks said. “She was heavily recruited coming out of high school and many thought she should play softball rather than basketball. We are glad we get to see her compete and battle for our university.”
Spinas-Valainis has only appeared in one game this season since joining the team. Spinas-Valainis picked up a save in one inning of work, including getting the Braves out of a bases loaded jam as they beat Missouri State 5-4.
“For me to be approached and asked to be on the team is something I’ve wanted to do, so I figured I would make the best of it,” Spinas-Valainis said. “I’m excited that I will have the chance to expand my reach in the athletic department.”