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By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
The first time Corning’s Peyton Sullivan ever visited New Haven University she felt like it was the perfect place for her to continue her softball career.

However, a coaching change at the school left Sullivan questioning her decision for a time. Later in 2023 she recommitted to the school, and then signed to play softball at the D2 school.

“Overall I loved the school,” Sullivan said. “My first time visiting was October of 2022 and I fell in love with the school. It was kind of a little tragic toward the end, my original coach (that was recruiting her) resigned and I reopened my recruiting. I started talking to other colleges, but every college I looked at I always compared to New Haven.

“They just got a new gym, a high level D1 caliber gym, it looks like what Oklahoma would have. I was at my last travel tournament in August and my dad saw there was a new coach with New Haven gear and said we should talk to her. Luckily everything fell back into place and I verbally again in September/October and I signed a month later. I love the coach, she’s amazing.”

It’s not just the new athletic buildings that drew Sullivan to the school, as they also have new academic buildings as well, which was a big draw.

“They got a new building as well for my major I want to go into,” Sullivan said. “When I visited in 2022 they were in the process of starting to build it, when I went back to my second visit it was done. It was specific to their health/science programs. Campus is beautiful. Everyone on campus is so supportive. My coach cares so much about you, not only as a player, but as a person and they want the best for you.”

The Corning senior plans to double major in exercise science and public health and the goal is to go into their physical therapy program.’

While Sullivan liked the girls at the school, that wasn’t the biggest draw for her to the school.

“For my overnight I stayed with the girls, but they didn’t sway my decision either way,” Sullivan said. “They were just getting to know her (the head coach). First impressions were a big thing, they had nothing but positive things to say about her, which was a great thing to hear. I fell in love with the campus day one and with the opportunity coming back around (to commit again to the school), it was amazing. It felt like a dream.”

The Hawks senior is going to the school to be a pitcher/utility player, but the main goal will be to be pitching for New Haven.

“Nothing comes easy, I know that has been how it’s been my whole life, nothing comes easy,” Sullivan said.

For Sullivan signing for college takes a little of the pressure off as she doesn’t have to go through the recruiting process anymore.

“Definitely, it’s a lot of pressure, the recruiting process is a lot of pressure,” Sullivan said. “If you don’t go through it you honestly won’t understand what they are going through. Once I said yes the pressure went off my shoulders. It’s exciting, because I feel like I can have fun and enjoy my senior year and keep working toward what I want to work toward.”

Right now, Sullivan is working on enjoying her final year of high school before she goes off to college.

“Honestly, I would say overall I would feel I’m at a certain point I’m ready to have fun with the sport,” she said.”I have worked so hard to get where I am now, but I want to find that absolute love for the sport. I’m putting the effort in, but I’m not going to a place where I’m dreading to do this, it’s I love to do it and I enjoy doing it and it’s something not everyone gets to do. But, I’m working overall on being strong in every aspect of my game. Making sure the spin is good, my speed is consistent.”

Sullivan knows how special this opportunity is and she enjoys having this chance.

“This opportunity is amazing,” Sullivan said. “Not everybody gets to have it. I am very grateful. It’s crazy to think a little girl who played t-ball as a four-year old who didn’t know if she was right-handed or left-handed is going to play at a D2 school of her dreams. I”m very grateful and it’s an amazing opportunity.”

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