VERONA, NJ - After the loss of several seniors and a jump to a tougher division, the Verona softball team faces some tough challenges and is relying on its veterans to lead the way.  With 35 strikeouts in this past week alone and a .222 batting average for the week, pitcher Christina Colon is delivering for her team, earning her TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove Hillbilly Athlete of the Week honors.  

"It's great to be named Athlete of thew Week, but I want to stay focused on the work that has to be done," Colon said.  "I'm proud of the accomplishment but it just reminds me that there are more things to strive for and I know I need to work harder."

Colon's hardwork is evident in her contributions to her team, namely 52 stirkeouts so far this season and batting a .182.  Currently at 1-6, it has been a challenging season for Verona so far to say the least.

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"The season isn't going exactly how we had planned.  We lost a lot of players last year and people are adjusting to new positions," Colon explained.  "On top of that we moved to an upper division and are playing tougher teams."

Despite the challenges, Colon said the team bond is stronger than ever and that's what she feels will push the team to succeed.

"Our team bond is definitely our biggest strength.  Despite being a newer team, we've worked hard to build our chemistry and everyone is very close," she said.  "When one of us gets down we work together to pick each other up."

Colon said getting down is probably the biggest challenge for the team, noting that some of the underclassmen get discouraged when they make an error or strikeout and she and the other upperclassmen are trying to work with them on that. 

Looking ahead, Colon is focused and taking it one game at a time.  She says she tries to focus on the team as a whole, rather than her own personal performance.  

"I just want to to as well as I did last year and to help my team win," she noted.  "Considering all of the changes, I think we're doing well and our underclassmen are stepping up and contributing.  Now we have a taste of what we are competing against as well."

Despite being verbally committed to Bryant University as a junior, Colon said she knows there are still many games to win in her high school career and that she still has work to do.

"I know I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of victories to work towards," she added.  

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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