UHV softball team signs first freshman

Ashley Winegeart of Mary Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, lower left, signs a letter of intent to play softball at the University of Houston-Victoria in the fall. Also pictured are, clockwise from top left, UHV head softball coach Keri Lambeth, and Ashley’s parents, Leslie and Susan Winegeart.

The University of Houston-Victoria Jaguars softball team has started a new chapter in its history with the signing of its first freshman, Ashley Winegeart of Corpus Christi.

The middle infielder, who will graduate from Mary Carroll High School in May, signed a letter of intent on Thursday to play at UHV in the fall. She also applied for admission to UHV on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to have such a talented athlete commit to UHV,” head coach Keri Lambeth said. “Her skills will add depth to our middle field.”

Winegeart, who plays second base and shortstop, led her high school’s offense in several categories last season, including batting average (.406) and slugging percentage (.653). She also had 31 RBIs, six doubles, five triples and three home runs. As a junior, Winegeart was named to the All-District Softball First Team for District 27-5A as a shortstop and the All South Texas First Team as a designated hitter.

“She’s our hardest working player,” said Winegeart’s father, Leslie, who also is the head softball coach at Carroll High School. “During the off-season, she’s out there working on her own almost every day. She just loves the game, and she plays it at a different level because of that.”

During the fall and summer, Ashley plays on the Houston Power Gold 18 and under travel team. She maintains a 3.6 grade-point average and is planning on majoring in business when she attends UHV in the fall. 

“UHV has a really competitive softball team, and I wanted to go somewhere that’s going to be rewarding for all the hard work I’ve put in over the years,” Ashley said.

UHV Athletics Director Ashley Walyuchow said he is happy to be able to recruit freshmen athletes to come to the university for the first time. Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill in June to allow UHV to add underclassmen in the fall. UHV, an upper-level institution since its founding in 1973, fielded its first baseball and softball teams during the 2007-2008 school year and will add men’s and women’s golf and soccer teams in the fall.

“This is an exciting time for UHV and for Ashley,” Walyuchow said. “As our first freshman, she is following in the footsteps of our first student-athletes who paved the way just a couple of years ago.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler