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Longtime pitcher-catcher duo top Tarleton State record books

by Anne Smith

Nyka Wood (left) and Haley Freyman form a high-powered battery for Tarleton State. Jeremy Enlow / Steelshutter Photography

Tarleton State teammates Haley Freyman and Nyka Wood have a longtime pitcher-catcher chemistry that has left its mark on the team record books, but their relationship didn’t start that way.

Wood was holding a bat, not a glove, when she first saw Freyman in the pitcher’s circle. They were opponents that summer day, and they remained adversaries when sixth grade started and Wood was the new girl at Freyman’s school.

Over middle school volleyball, they finally bonded and became “the best of friends,” Wood says. As teammates, they developed a rapport that continued through high school and a record-setting four years on the Tarleton State roster.

Freyman says their longtime friendship makes communication easier during games. They didn’t base their college decisions on each other’s choice, she says, “but if it happened, then we would be happy.”

They entered their college senior season hoping to make it back to the super regional, which the team last qualified for by winning the program’s first regional championship when Freyman and Wood were freshmen.

“I really just want to lay it all out there for my last year and leave something for my teammates to go out on,” Freyman says.

After graduation, Freyman plans to enter the business world with an eye on owning a coffee shop someday. Wood’s dream is to become a collegiate coach. “This game has given me a lot and given me plenty of opportunities,” she says. “I just want to give back to it.”

Nyka Wood

Major: Kinesiology.
Position: Catcher.
Height: 5 feet, 6 inches.
School records: Career RBIs (160 before start of season), RBIs in a season (59), doubles in a season (19).
How Freyman describes her: Approachable, leader, lighthearted.
Campus involvement: Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Off-field talent: Juggling.
Giving back: Wood coaches younger softball players in a summer travel league.
What’s next: Will serve as a Tarleton State graduate assistant coach next year while pursuing a master’s degree in human resources.


Haley Freyman

Major: Business.
Position: Pitcher.
Height: 5 feet, 6 inches.
School records: Career complete games (64 before start of season), career wins (63 before start of season), games started in a season (34), innings pitched in a season (242), complete games in a season (31).
How Wood describes her: Quirky, easygoing, caring.
Campus involvement: Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Off-field talent: Baking.
Giving back: Freyman served a 2016 internship in South Africa with the sports ministry organization Impact.
What’s next: Will pursue a marketing career in North Carolina, where her parents recently relocated.


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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.