SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. -- Playing sports in college is one thing. Playing at the Division-I level is another.

But that’s what South Plainfield native Kristyn Smith of Mount St. Dominic’s High School will do as she recently signed on the dotted line of her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Manhattan College.

TAPinto South Plainfield caught up with the senior student-athlete who will play first base for the Jaspers about signing and her choice of school.

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“It was exciting because it was the realization of all the hard work and effort from over the years finally paying off,” Smith said of the ceremony when she signed. “I started playing softball with the South Plainfield Ponytail Organization and then moved on to the NJ Pride travel club. To know that the work that I had put in paid off in a scholarship for a Division-I school is a dream come true.”

Manhattan College is located in the Bronx about five miles from Yankee Stadium and Smith talked about why she ultimately chose it over her other options. Location was a big factor.

“The school was a perfect fit for me because of its size and how close it is to New York City since that’s where I hope to work when I graduate,” Smith said. “It’s nice and close to home as well so my family can come and visit and see me play.

“The whole team was so welcoming when I went for a visit and meeting the coaches was even better. They were very supportive and patient through the process and made sure that I would be going to Manhattan for the right reasons.”

Last year, the Jaspers had four players on the roster from New Jersey during their 21-29 season under head coach Tom Pardalis, who is now in his 11th year.

Once she arrives, Smith hopes to use her bat to help out the team.

“I know that my offensive contributions will be a key to successful seasons,” she said. “I want to contribute my best efforts towards the team’s goals.”

In 21 games last year for the Lady Lions, Smith tallied 24 hits including two home runs and eight doubles with 22 RBI 15 runs scored.

Mount St. Dominic, which is located up in Caldwell, won the Essex County Tournament and the North Jersey, Non-Public A sectional title before falling in the Non-Public A final.

Getting back there is a goal of Smith’s and the rest of her team come next spring.

“I’m looking forward to another successful season with Mount St. Dominic’s and hope that we can repeat our county and state sectional championships and get the state championship we fell short of last year.”

Smith also noted she wanted to “mention that I’m grateful for starting my softball passion with the SP Ponytail organization and that I’m grateful to Jim Olano, Mike DeCarlo, Christine Marks, and Jim Parker for their coaching and encouragement. I would also like to thank my first batting coach, Coach K, who helped me develop my skills and my coaches at NJ Pride who made sure to find a place for me and who continued to support and pushed me to be my best.”