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Movin’ on up! AWC’s Manzano elevates her game from JUCO to University ranks

Arizona Western softball player Iliana Manzano signs college letter of intent to play for Colorado Christian University

YUMA, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - Playing prep softball for Southwest High School, Iliana Manzano says she never gave too much thought about playing in college.

"Coming out of high school I didn't have many options," Manzano said. "Coach Nikki [Bethurum] approached me and I came on a visit [Arizona Western College] and I fell in love honestly."

Manzano says at the time she didn't know much about junior college, she only knew of four year universities.

"I didn't know you could play this competitive here," Manzano said. "I get here and I'm a catcher and I end up getting hit in the head. I get a concussion and end up being out another month."

That injury turned out to be a small blessing in disguise. Manzano was moved to third base and also played shortstop. Manzano played three season for AWC and appeared in 122 games, drove in 72 runs and batted .342 in her junior college career.

"In high schooI I visited Colorado Christian, it's a four year university," Manzano said. "I went just because my brother was going there. I practiced with the team a little. I knew coming out of high school I wasn't ready to go to a four year like that. So, I came here and they approached me again so it was a great opportunity, their softball program is great."

On Thursday afternoon Manzano made it official by signing her second collegiate letter of intent, this time jumping from junior college to Colorado Christian University to be a member of the Cougars program.

"I can't wait to take what I've learned here over there," Manzano said.

Iliana plans to major in psychology. She also excited to experience the change in weather. She says she's lived in the heat all her life and is looking forward to living in all four seasons in Colorado.

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Scott Gross

Scott Gross joins the KYMA team as the CBS 13 sports director and weather forecaster. Scott comes to the Desert Southwest all the way from Alaska where he covered the military and education beats for KTVA-TV & KTUU-TV.

Contact him at scott.gross@kecytv.com.

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