Kansas Softball Inks Six in 2015 Signing Class

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas softball head coach Megan Smith and her staff announced the signing of the 2015 recruiting class, which includes three outfielders, two pitchers and an infielder. Smith signed a total of six incoming freshmen to National Letters of Intent (NLI) on Wednesday.

“Our 2015 class is a very dynamic and well balanced class,” said Smith. “It’s a good mixture of pitching, speed and offensive power. This class will make a tremendous impact on our program and will help us continue to raise our competitiveness on a national level.  It is important to find players who have the talent to make us better, but it is equally important to find players that care about making our program better and have a lot of pride in wearing the Kansas jersey.  I feel this entire class exhibits those qualities. We are really excited that they are all going to be Jayhawks. We can’t wait to get them on campus and start working with them.”

Smith and her staff found talent throughout the Midwest and Texas for the 2015 recruiting class. Two are from the Lone Star state, while the other four hail from Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Emily Bermel (Free State High School/Lawrence, Kansas), Heaven Benavidez (Dawson High School/Pearland, Texas), Jen Marwitz (Mount Saint Mary High School/Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), Chloe Petersen (Peoria Notre Dame/ Peoria, Illinois), Alexis Reid (Blue Springs High School/Blue Springs, Missouri) and Ania Williams (Spring High School/Spring, Texas) all signed valid NLI’s to play for the Jayhawks in 2016.Heaven Benavidez // Outfielder // 5-4
Glenda Dawson High School // Pearland, Texas

 Glenda Dawson High School

  • Earned district Utility Player of the Year honors and was named the team MVP.
  • Helped the Lady Eagles to a 24-12 mark in 2013, an area championship, a regional semi-final championship and a bi-district championship. Also guided GDHS to a regional runner-up finish.
  • During her junior campaign, she played in 38 games hitting .426 with 52 hits including three doubles and a triple, 21 RBIs and 50 runs scored.
  • Registered an on-base percentage of .520 and a slugging percentage of .467 in her junior season.
  • Tallied 20 walks, 14 stolen bases and a .973 fielding percentage as a junior.
  • Lettered in softball, tennis, volleyball, water polo, soccer, basketball, swimming and track.

 Aces Express

  • Played travel ball for the Aces Express.

Smith on Benavidez: “Heaven brings a lot of speed and athleticism to our line-up both offensively and defensively.  In the outfield, she has great range and good instincts and offensively she will bring our line-up versatility and speed.  She has played with some very competitive teams throughout her career and that experience will help her adjust to the high level of competition that we face each weekend.”Emily Bermel // Outfielder // 5-4
Free State High School // Lawrence, Kansas

 Free State High School

  • During her junior season, Bermel was named First-Team All-State, First-Team All-Metro and All-Sunflower League First Team.
  • She helped Free State High School to a regional championship in 2013.
  • As a sophomore, Bermel earned First-Team All-Sunflower League and First-Team All-Metro honors. She was also named Newcomer of the Year as a sophomore.
  • Also a three-time All-Sunflower selection in golf. 
  • Lettered in softball and golf.


  • Played travel ball with the Originals.

Smith on Bermel: “Emily has attended a lot of our camps throughout her high school career and we have really enjoyed getting to know her both as an athlete and as a person during that process.  Athletically, she will bring a tremendous amount of aggressiveness, athleticism, and speed to our outfield and our offensive lineup.  Along with her athletic talent, I feel that her personality and  work ethic will fit in really well with our team and how we run our program.  She is a fun player to be around and I am excited to see her continue to develop as a Jayhawk.”Jen Marwitz // Outfield // 5-6
 Mount Saint Mary High School // Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 Mount Saint Mary High School

  • Named the Sooner Conference Offensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons (2013 and 2014).
  • A three-time member of the Oklahoman Little All-City roster.
  • Helped the Rockets to district titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
  • Won a regional title in 2014.
  • As a senior, Marwitz has played in 30 games and is hitting .481 with 39 hits including 10 doubles, three triples and five home runs.
  • Also registered 20 walks, a .596 on-base percentage and .864 slugging percentage as a senior.

OK Gametime Stars Gold

  • Won a national championship with OK Gametime Stars in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
  • Team was among the top 25 percent in PGF Nationals in 2013 and 2014.

Smith on Marwitz: “Jen is an extremely dynamic player in all facets of the game.  She adds another powerful left handed bat to our line-up and she will come in and make an immediate impact in our outfield.  She has great range and speed in the outfield and her arm will easily be one of the strongest on our team.  I am also excited about what Jen will bring to our team in terms of personality.  Although she is a quiet player, she plays with passion and  it is evident that she loves the game and I feel she will add a lot of life to our team.”Chloe Petersen // Infielder //5-6
Peoria Notre Dame High School // Peoria, Illinois

 Peoria Notre Dame High School

  • A three-time all-conference selection, a two-time all-state honoree and earned all-area accolades.
  • Helped the Irish to three-consecutive conference championships, a regional title and a sectional title.
  • In 2014, Petersen hit .523 with an on-base percentage of .747. She registered a .985 fielding percentage.
  • During the 2013 season, she batted .502 with a .735 on-base percentage and a .972 fielding percentage.
  • Petersen is Peoria Notre Dame’s all-time hits leader.
  • Lettered in softball and volleyball.

Illinois Oak Stars

  • Played summer ball for the Illinois Oak Stars.

Smith on Petersen: “Chloe is another solid left handed hitter that will help strengthen our offense.  She hits for average and she has the capabilities of hitting for power and we are excited to see what she can add to our line-up.  She is also a solid defensive player who can play multiple positions.”Alexis Reid // Pitcher // 5-11
Blue Springs High School // Blue Springs, Missouri

 Blue Springs High School

  • In 2014, Student Sports Hot 100 ranked Reid at No. 44 among the 2015 class.
  • A two-time all-state selection, a three-time all-region honoree, earned three all-district accolades, named an all-conference selection three times and a two-time all-metro honoree.
  • Also named the Blue Springs softball MVP.
  • Helped BSHS to three-straight conference championships (2012-14) and a district title in 2014.
  • Led Blue Springs High School to a 27-2 record in 2014 and hit .500 on the season with 12 home runs.  


  • Currently plays summer ball for the Originals.
  • Also played for the Birmingham Thunderbolts Premier.

Smith on Reid: “Alexis is a game changer for us; we wanted to bring pitching in to this class that could help elevate our program to the next level and Alexis will certainly do that.  We had to battle with a lot of really good programs and we are so excited that we are going to be a part of her career.  She is an unbelievable pitching talent, but she also will add a tremendous amount of power to our offensive line-up.  It is extremely hard to find a match between talent, heart, competitiveness, and work ethic, but Alexis has all of them.  This rare mixture is truly what will make her a really special player and will help our program reach new heights.”Ania Williams // Pitcher/Utility // 5-9
Spring High School // Spring, Texas

 Spring High School

  • Named first-team all-district twice and earned one all-district honorable mention accolade.
  • During her sophomore season, Williams recorded a 0.91 ERA with a 3-0 record, two complete games and a save. She recorded 26 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched and allowed only nine hits.

Texas Firecrackers

  • Played travel ball with the Texas Firecrackers.

Smith on Williams: “Ania is such a talented, versatile player who pitches, hits, and plays infield and she does all of these at the highest level.  I feel strongly that Ania was meant to be a Jayhawk because the way she approaches the game is exactly what we encourage from our players.  She will add a lot to our program with not just her talents, but also with her personality, leadership capabilities, and her enthusiasm.  I am confident that Ania will make a huge impact on our team both on and off the field.”  

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