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On top of a state championship for the Huskies, the girls' soccer standout signs with New Mexico State University

North Marion's girls soccer team put together one of the strongest 2020-2021 campaigns at the 4A level. The team went 11-1 overall, including a conference best 8-1 record that made them co-champions of the Tri-Valley Conference with Gladstone (8-2).

PMG FILE PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion senior Mya Hammack scored three goals in the Huskies' 3-2 victory over the Woodburn Bulldogs in the quarterfinals of the 4A Elite 8 Showcase on April 6. Hammack was named the 4A Player of the Year, and signed with the New Mexico State University Aggies to play college soccer.

The Huskies also marched to the finals of the 4A Elite 8 Showcase, beating reigning 4A state champion Woodburn, Philomath, and Marist Catholic in succession. The latter games came down to shootouts, which North Marion won 4-2 and 6-5, respectively.

Senior Mya Hammack was named the 4A Player of the Year for her efforts in that campaign, which included three goals against Woodburn in the opening round. It was a strong showcase for the four-year varsity starter, who leaves North Marion with 89 career goals.

"Honestly, I mean it was just really rewarding," Hammack said. "I feel like I have really put in a lot of work into my soccer career and it was really refreshing to get that award and be recognized for that…I feel like it was a really great way to just end my high school career."

The North Marion alumna already has her sights set on the next challenge of her athletic career. Hammack signed with New Mexico State University in February and is currently down in Las Cruces training with her new team.

While the immediate future is playing with the Aggies and studying for a pre-med degree, Hammack isn't ruling out a soccer career past her college days.

"I'm going to get my bachelor's in science, I'm going down the medical path," Hammack said, "So at the moment that's kind of my goal. But I love soccer, so I definitely could see myself playing somewhere, maybe overseas possibly. But right now I'm just focusing on grinding and doing school and enjoying the experience. But you know, it definitely could be something in the future, but we'll just have to see where life takes me."

Hammack wasn't the only North Marion player to earn All-State honors in the post season. Fellow senior Hailey Welch received the first team nod, and junior Dominique Huapeo got the second team All-State distinction.

It wasn't an easy season for anyone, but North Marion girls' soccer coach Ben Bonser believes his teams mental toughness was the difference down the stretch.

"We stayed positive during this rough year and worked very hard," Bonser said. "That mentality, plus our skillful players, like Mya and Hailey Welch, created the opportunity for our success."

Heading into next season the Huskies will need other players to fill massive shoes, but Hammack believes that the groundwork she and her fellow seniors laid will allow for just that.

"I think as a class, we've really like helped mold this team," Hammack said. "Hailey Welch, my other captain, Carter, Dani, we've all really like molded this team into what it is. I think (the junior class) have a really strong idea of what our team is and I think they have a lot of room to build off, and I know there's some strong freshmen coming in. So I think they're really prepared for the next few years that they have."

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