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Jara signs with Chaminade
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Michelle Jara signed a national letter of intent to attend school and play softball at Chaminade University of Honolulu on July 4.

"It's something that I wanted to do," Jara said. "Plus, it's in Hawaii."

The 2003 Ceres High graduate earned all-Northern California and all-Central Valley Conference honors after leading the Modesto Junior College softball team to its first-ever league championship and into the playoffs for the second year in a row this past season.

Jara signed with Chaminade instead of Dickinson State University. Jara received a partial scholarship (75 percent). Dickinson offered her a full-ride.

"It was a hard decision," said Jara, who plans to major in criminal justice. "Dickinson State was a winning team. They got second place in their league. And their coach called me once a week."

But Jara didn't enjoy her recruiting trip to North Dakota. She stayed there for five days.

"I really didn't like it that much," she said. "It was a very small town. When I went there, it was snowing. I don't like cold weather, especially when you have to play in it."

Jara committed to Chaminade even though she didn't visit the campus. She's never been to Hawaii.

"I've been doing research on the computer," she said. "It's a private Catholic School. The university is on the island of Oahu. It's located two miles away from Waikiki beach."

Jara will play second base for Chaminade. She'll probably start.

"When they played in the Stanislaus State tournament in Modesto, I met their coaches," Jara said. "They said they were looking for a second baseman.

"They only recruited one second baseman, which is me."

Chaminade finished the 2004-05 season with a 10-37 overall record.

"I've always been on a winning team," Jara said. "Hopefully, I can help them."

Jara leaves for Hawaii on Aug. 16. She'll move into her dorm room on Aug. 17 and attend orientation, Aug. 18-19. School starts on Aug. 22.

"I'm going to miss all of my friends andplaying with Omaira," Jara said. "We've played together for 10 years."

Jara and Omaira Estremera were standouts on the Ceres Sizzle, Ceres High and Modesto Junior College softball teams. Estremera signed with the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors.

"We'll probably be seeing her at the Stanislaus tournament," Jara said. "I told her not to strike me out." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier