Ciara chases American dream
Ciara Nolan is happiest when she is surrounded by dust, a diamond and swinging a bat.
The Whitby 17-year-old plays softball for the ParemataPlimmerton club. It’s a family tradition and she has grown up with the sport.
Father Shane is the club’s president, and siblings Caitlin and Jayden also play.
Nolan herself lives and breathes softball.
At the national under-17s in Hastings last month, Nolan, a second base and short stop, was named top batter, hitting over .500 and earning a place in the tournament team.
It was bittersweet, however, with her Wellington side losing 5-4 to Auckland in the final.
‘‘I was shocked but rapt to make the [ tournament] team. I was really focused all week and got a lot of hits,’’ she said.
In August, Nolan heads to the United States on a student exchange.
She has no idea where she will go yet, but is hopeful it will be a high school where softball played.
She has level 2 NCEA already
is and hopes to have level 3 in the bag before leaving New Zealand.
Ultimately, she wants to gain a scholarship to study and play at an American university.
‘‘That’s the goal – play softball there, take my opportunities and get a big break.
‘‘The game is stronger in the United States, and it will be great for my own development to play at that level.’’
It won’t be cheap to follow her dream. The student exchange comes with a price tag of $14,000.
Fundraising is in full swing and includes a hypnotist show at Plimmerton School, a quiz night and other events.
Nolan said softball was the biggest thing in her life.
‘‘It’s my everything. Some of my best friends are in softball and it’s a great way to meet people.
‘‘There’s always different things to do and learn. I can’t imagine not playing.’’
March will be a busy month for Nolan, with the secondary school nationals for Aotea College, and then she will don Newlands’ colours for the club nationals.
Diamond dreams: Softballer Ciara Nolan hopes that a student exchange to the United States this year will further her development in the sport.