PORTLAND—Less than a week after the Cheverus girls’ cross country team won the school’s first-ever female state championship, Stags senior Audrey Grinnell made some history of her own.

Thursday afternoon, Grinnell signed a national letter of intent to attend and play softball at the University of Connecticut, becoming Cheverus’ first female athlete to commit to a Division I school.

“I got recruited by a couple different schools,” Grinnell said. “U. Conn just felt right and I really liked the school. It was the most exciting thing ever. I always wanted to play D1 ball, ever since I was little.”

Grinnell, an all-league catcher, who previously played basketball and turned heads this fall by excelling in goal for the regional finalist field hockey team (as a first-year starter), said that she considered other schools, but eventually, the Huskies won her over.

“I’d been recruited by the University of Massachusetts and a couple other schools, but U. Conn just grew on me,” she said. “It happened really fast and was very exciting. It was just last summer when U. Conn started to talk to me. U. Conn plays really competitive ball. I know in years past they’ve won their conference. I know I have a lot of work to do, but my goal is to be starting.”

Amy McMullin, who coaches Grinnell in softball and field hockey, was thrilled for her player, but not surprised she reached the D1 level.

“(Audrey’s) driven and constantly wants to get better and will do anything to get better,” McMullin said. “She works hard and won’t settle. That kind of determination really drives her. She’ll do fine at U. Conn.

“I only coached her last year, but watching her compared to other athletes in the league, she’s definitely by far one the best. She was catcher of the year and defensive player of the year last year. She had a great junior year which you need to go D1.”

While excited about the future, Grinnell had plenty of praise for those who helped her get to this level and make history.

“The coaches here definitely helped me be the person and player I am today,” said Grinnell, who expects to play first base and outfield in college. “I’m really excited to be the first one from Cheverus.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]

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P-sportsGrinnell-111809.jpgCheverus senior Audrey Grinnell, flanked by teammates, coaches and family, signed her national letter of intent Thursday afternoon to attend and play softball at the University of Connecticut.