Head coach Terri Sullivan continues to recruit on the national scene, bringing five talented student-athletes from three states to Champaign, Ill., with the 2011 class.
Nov. 11, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Fighting Illini softball head coach Terri Sullivan announced the addition of another talented class on Wednesday, featuring five athletes who can compete all over the diamond. Sullivan's newcomers include players from across the United States, including Illinois, California, Tennessee and Texas. The class comprises Shelese Arnold, a right-handed pitcher from Lexington, Tenn.; Jessica Perkins, a utility player from Orland Park, Ill.; Brittany Sanchez, an outfielder from Skokie, Ill.; Jami Schkade, an infielder from Albany, Texas and Kayla Tyler, a shortstop from Windsor, Calif.
Sullivan on the 2011 signing class: "Katie [O'Connell], Donna [DiBiase] and I are really excited about the 2011 class - so will their fellow Illini teammates be next season. This class is versatile position-wise, which will allow us to be creative with our lineup and game-by-game strategy. We expect all five of our signees to make an immediate impact.
"Brittany, Jami, Jessica, Kayla and Shelese are athletes with all the tools, which include hitting for average and power, base-running skills and speed and throwing and fielding abilities. This was a key factor in their recruitment as we wanted to elevate our overall team athleticism. In addition, they have a nose for the game that is very tough to find. Their softball smarts give them an edge when they take the field and we want that edge!
"This class has been a part of very strong and well coached teams and compete hard day in and day out. Competing hard is what Illinois softball is all about; therefore, they fit our philosophy. Finally, the character and attitudes of all five are strong and positive, and we expect them to develop into tremendous leaders for our team.
"My staff and I had so much fun getting to know each of these quality student-athletes and their awesome families. We know we are going to have even more fun watching them achieve greatness on and off the field here!"
Meet the Newest Illini:
Hometown/High School: Lexington, Tenn. / Lexington
High School Coach: Dewond Johnson
Travel Team: Germantown Red Devils U-18
Travel Coach: Mark Murphy
Notes: Three-time All-District honoree ... Two-time First Team All-West Tennessee ... 2009 Lexington squad earned District, Region and Sub-State Championships ... Has a 53-11 record in three seasons with Lexington to go with 563 strikeouts, 28 shutouts and one perfect game ... Totaled 28 strikeouts during a 14-inning game during her sophomore season, a Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) record ... Also talented as a hitter, finishing with a .430 batting average in 2009 while hitting over .300 as a freshman (2008) and junior (2010) at Lexington ... Began her high school career with a 14-win season which included 135 strikeouts, eight shutouts, four saves and a 0.90 ERA ... Earned a phenomenal sophomore season in 2009 by producing 29 wins, 348 strikeouts and 17 shutouts to lead Lexington to an appearance in the Tennessee State Championships ... Has played with the Germantown Red Devils U-18 squad since the age of 14 ... Daughter of Allan and Shelia Arnold.
Hometown/High School: Orland Park, Ill. / Carl Sandburg
High School Coach: Jim Fabianski
Travel Team: Orland Park A's Gold
Travel Coach: Sara Douglas
Notes: Three-time Sparks Exposure Tournament MVP ... Two-time Homer Hawks Tournament MVP ... Earned All-State Honors after leading Sandburg to a 39-2 record and the 2010 Class 4A State Championship and a 2008 Conference Championship ... Totaled 83 RBIs to go 26 doubles, six triples and 10 home runs through three high school seasons ... Hit .380 with nine doubles, five home runs, one triple and 30 RBIs during her junior year at Sandburg ... Led 2009 Orland Park squad to a ninth place finish at ASA Nationals out of 129 participating teams ... Carl Sandburg Academic Scholar and Student Council Member ... Volunteer softball coach for Century Junior High School ... Daughter of John and Carol Perkins.
Hometown/High School: Skokie, Ill. / Niles North High School
High School Coach: Karin Wick
Travel Team: Illinois Chill Gold
Travel Coach: Gerry Quinn
Notes: Chicago Sun-Times Player to Watch ... 2010 First Team All-State, All-Area and All-Conference as captain and MVP of Niles North ... 2009 Under Armour All-American Game ESPN RISE Invitee ... 2008 Adidas Future Invitee ... Led Niles North in batting average, RBIs, steals and on-base percentage in 2010 ... Batted .461 with 41 hits, 16 doubles, four triples and 27 runs scored in her sophomore year ... Followed with .476 batting average to go with eight doubles, four home runs, 29 RBIs and 31 runs scored in her junior season ... Batted .361 for the Illinois Chill Gold in 2010, notching 57 hits, scoring 34 runs and stealing 10 bases ... Led the Chill to a 43-17 record to qualify for ASA Gold Nationals ... High Honor Roll student ... Also a member of the Athletic Leadership Council and recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Junior Sportsman Award ... Daughter of Angela and Israel Sanchez.
Hometown/High School: Albany, Texas / Albany
High School Coach: Jimmy Fuentes
Travel Team: Texas Impact Goal
Travel Coach: KC Jackson
Notes: Two-time Texas All-State ... Central Texas All-Big Country and All-District Team ... District MVP in 2010 ... Posted a .554 batting average in her most recent high school season, totaling 16 doubles, eight triples and two home runs to go with 45 RBIs ... Led Texas Impact Gold to fourth at the ASA Gold National Championship in 2010 ... Also letters in volleyball and track ... National Honor Society ... Participates in community service and charitable organizations outside the classroom, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ... Daughter of James and Teresa Schkade.
Hometown/High School: Windsor, Calif. / Windsor High School
HS Coach: Dennis Lucchesi
Travel Team: California Haze Gold
Travel Coach: Phil Wright
Notes: Two-time Sonoma County League First Team and All-Empire First Team ... Sonoma County League MVP during sophomore season when she earned a .474 batting average to go with 37 hits and 16 RBIs ... Batted .506 with nine doubles, six triples, five home runs and 23 RBIs as a junior ... Has totaled 105 hits in three years as the starting shortstop at Windsor while also excelling in basketball and volleyball, earning Scholar Athlete status for softball and basketball for three years and volleyball once ... Parents are John and Julie Tyler.