Western Nebraska Community College softball team’s Gabby Loya and Abriana Ramirez will be continuing their softball playing for another two years after signing with York College on Sunday.
Loya and Ramirez were vital contributors for the Cougars last season and both are excited they get to continue their playing careers at the next level after they graduate from WNCC in May.
“I am going to York College because I found an opportunity to play softball and to continue my education,” Loya, a Wheatridge High graduate from Denver, said. “It is exciting that I get to play softball because I wouldn’t know what to do without it.”
Ramirez picked York because it was the right fit for her in that she loved how she was treated on her visit and how the York and WNCC programs mirror each other.
“I remember meeting Coach [Roni] Miller the first day and she looked at me and said you need York College,” Ramirez, a Pomona High graduate in Colorado, said. “I didn’t know what she meant at first, but when arriving on campus I understood what she meant. It reminded me a lot of here in just the sense of community and the town. The professors care about you and I just knew that is where I needed to be. Gabby and I talk about it all the time. We said that is what was meant to happen; it just fell in our lap. We are just thankful for that opportunity to play and to have her with me along for the ride.”
Ramirez said it will be special that she will be going to York with a teammate.
“It means a lot to me considering Gabby is one of my best friends and just having her be there for two more years and be my roommate for two more years means so much to me,” she said. “I know I need someone there with me and Gabby is the perfect one.”
Loya and Ramirez will be the third Cougar to play softball at York College. Amanda Saldivar played for the Panthers from 2012-14 after playing two years at WNCC.
Last season Loya had a .308 batting average with six home runs, 12 doubles, 41 RBIs, and 26 runs scored. Ramirez hit .152 and had 10 runs scored in just 55 at bats.
The two will have one more season at WNCC and Loya and Ramirez said they have grown as a player and person while at WNCC.
“I am going to miss the culture, the team, and the community,” Loya said. “Everyone is by your side in whatever you do.”
For Ramirez, her two years was special. She added if it was a four-year school she would be here for four years.
“I have learned so much from Coach [Katelyn] Groves,” she said. “I am a better person coming here. I learned so much discipline, so much about myself that I don’t think I would have learned anywhere else. This place is something special and I am thankful for that. There is nothing like being a Cougar. If this was a four-year school, I definitely would be here [four years], but I can’t unfortunately.”
Loya, who is majoring in pre-physical therapy, said leaving WNCC will be hard.
“I will miss all the family from the team and coaches,” she said. “We are so close together because we have to walk together. That is what I will miss the most.”
Ramirez said the friendships she made while here will stand out.
“I will miss my friends without a doubt,” she said. “I will also miss this community because I met my best friends here and I am just going to miss it.”