NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The University of Notre Dame Softball program has signed five student-athletes who will begin their Irish careers in 2021, head coach Deanna Gumpf announced Wednesday.
Rachel Allen, Shannon Becker, Anna Holloway, Jane Kronenberger and Emily Tran all signed their National Letters of Intent Wednesday.
“I am extremely excited to have this 2021 class come into our program and make an immediate impact,” Notre Dame head softball coach Deanna Gumpf said. “Each one possesses tremendous talent! This is a class filled with impact players who can help our program continue to be a championship-caliber team.”
The signing class is the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation, and the second-ranked class in the ACC, according to Extra Inning Softball. Each of Notre Dame’s five signees are ranked in the top 100 players in the class of 2021.
NOTE: The 2020 spring softball season for each athlete was cancelled due to COVID-19. Thus, awards, honors and stats are available only from their freshman and sophomore seasons.
- No. 61 player nationally
- Rancho Palos Verdes, California
- Palos Verdes High School
“Rachel has the ability to change a game with one swing. She is extremely tough out at the plate, possessing massive power,” Gumpf noted. “She will provide us a nice balance to our lineup, as she is versatile defensively behind the plate and on the field. We know her dominant offense will make a mark.”
A senior captain of the Palos Verdes softball team, Allen has been named Team MVP, Bay League Player of the Year and First-team All-League in each season of eligible high school softball (2018-19). In both seasons, she was also named to the Daily Breeze All-Area Team and CIF All-Area First Team, and earned CIF All-State First Team honors in 2019.
She boasts a .500 career batting average, and in her most recent full season of softball, posted a 1.097 slugging percentage, 36 hits, 10 home runs, 31 runs scored and 38 RBI.
Allen has been the Palos Verdes record holder in home runs (23) since she was a sophomore, and as a freshman, she was first in the league in home runs, slugging percentage, batting average, on-base percentage and RBI.
In the club softball realm, Allen currently plays for Firecrackers – TJ, coached by former NFL wide receiver TJ Houshmanzadeh, the team which also helped produce current Notre Dame catcher Carlli Kloss.
Off the diamond, Allen is a second-degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, training for eight years. She is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Science Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation.
An avid volunteer, she earned the Palos Verdes Assembly Presidential Service Award all four years of high school. Allen also received a Mayor and City Council Certificate of Recognition for community involvement and service during the COVID-19 pandemic, as she and her family assisted senior citizens in their area with tasks such as grocery shopping. ESPN’s Outside The Lines interviewed Allen and her sister, Hannah, in April regarding their work to aid those in their community.
"Introduce yourself to your neighbors….let them know you're available for help"
The pride of the @seakingsoftball and @PVHS_Seakings Hannah and Rachel Allen on how they helped their neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic on this week's Stepping Up @OTLonESPN @GoSeaKings! pic.twitter.com/KKY2BDiIUQ
— Ryan Smith (@ryansmithtv) April 27, 2020
“Not only did Notre Dame’s top athletic programs draw me in, but the academic excellence and the importance of service and faith that the school stands for was everything that I was looking for in a university,” Allen noted. “From the first time I stepped on campus, I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be.”
- No. 9 player nationally
- Mahopac, New York
- Mahopac High School
“Shannon is an amazing multi-sport student-athlete. A competitor in all that she does, she shows great composure on the mound and handles pressure with maturity,” Gumpf explained. “She has dominated on the mound, because she moves the ball up and down so well. We are planning to have her come in and make an immediate impact in the circle.”
The No. 9 2021 player in the nation, Becker is a three-time team captain at Mahopac and a two-time team MVP. In 2019, she was named NFCA First-Team All American and Extra Inning Softball Second-Team All American. Both seasons (2018-19), she earned All-State and MaxPreps High School All American National Team honors.
Becker was tabbed as the 2019-20 New York State Softball Gatorade Player of the Year, the first Mahopac student to earn the honor in any sport. She was named to the 2020 LoHud (local paper) All-Decade Team, and was the only active player selected.
Through the 2018-19 seasons, Becker totaled 632 strikeouts and posted an impressive 0.39 ERA as a sophomore and 0.54 ERA as a freshman. On May 8, 2019, she threw the only seven-inning 21-strikeout “Perfect” Perfect Game in New York state history.
She holds multiple other NYSPHSAA (New York State Public High School Athletic Association) records, totaling the most strikeouts in a single season (369 in 2019), the most strikeouts in a game (22, once in 2019 and once in 2018, also 21 in 2019 and 20 in 2019), and shutouts in consecutive games (has totaled streaks of five in 2019, four in 2019 and three in 2018).
With East Cobb Bullets 18U – Schnute, the team won the 2019 TC/USA Nationals in Atlanta, and the team was ranked No. 1 in the 16U Team Softball US Club rankings.
Becker also played varsity basketball and soccer, named all-league in basketball and a sectional finalist in soccer. She serves on the Mahopac student-athlete council, also volunteering with the Make A Wish foundation and the Mahopac Sports Association as a coach, and is part of the Mu Alpha Theta Society (Math Dept.), Italian National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society (Public Relations Officer), National Honor Society and Mahopac Signature Student group.
“I wanted a college with the best education with championship-level softball. At Notre Dame, you get the best of the best in the classroom and on the field,” Becker attested. “The culture and atmosphere of the entire college community is something you could only dream to experience. When I stepped on campus, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
- No. 32 player nationally
- Crown Point, Indiana
- Crown Point High School
“Anna is someone close to the program, with her sister Alexis being a current Irish softball team member. We have had the pleasure watching her grow from a kid to a tremendous athlete, developing into one of the best middle infielders in the country,” Gumpf reflected. “She is highly skilled in both sides of the game, and I expect her to make a difference right away. I am excited to have her be Irish and am looking forward to her contributions to our program.”
A two-time First Team All-State honoree, Holloway has also garnered First Team All-Area and All-Conference honors in 2018-19. As a sophomore, she posted a .400 batting average, .694 slugging percentage, 38 hits, six doubles, five triples, five home runs and 31 runs scored. Her RBI total was 26, also stealing 10 bases. With the Beverly Bandits, Holloway won a 16u PGF National Championship in 2019.
Holloway is a Summa Cum Laude and Principal Honor Roll student at Crown Point High School, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. She is a leader of Pulse Group, a group that performs community service and aids the school, as well as teaching Latin through the Latin Club.
“I chose Notre Dame because it is the perfect balance between academics and athletics, and I know I can have the best of both worlds,” Holloway explained. “Notre Dame also has such a rich tradition and is unlike anywhere else in the world.”
Her older sister, Alexis, is a senior pitcher on the Notre Dame team. The younger Holloway intends to major in engineering.
- No. 55 player nationally
- Cincinnati, OH
- Ursuline Academy
“Jane is an athlete who will be able to play anywhere on the infield. She possesses a consistent and steady glove with great range,” Gumpf noted. “She is an offensive threat with her power and strength. With her skills and abilities, it will be hard to not see her doing damage in our line-up right away.”
Kronenberger is a two-time all-league First Team honoree, earning All-State Honorable Mention, All-District First Team and All-City First Team designations in 2019. As a freshman in 2018, she was also named Second Team All-City, District All-Star Team and NFCA First Team All-Region.
In 2019, Kronenberger turned in an impressive .636 batting average and 1.109 slugging percentage, with 35 hits, seven home runs, 29 runs, 31 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Through her club career with Beverly Bandits, she posted a .428 batting average and an on-base percentage of .510.
Kronenberger also played varsity tennis, being named First Team All Conference in 2020 and Second Team All Conference in 2018. In the classroom, she has earned First Honors from 2017 to the present semester.
“I chose Notre Dame because of its rich culture, world-class academics, top-level athletics, and amazing coaches,” Kronenberger shared. “I can’t wait to be part of the Fighting Irish family!”
Two of Kronenberger’s cousins have attended Notre Dame, but she is the first in her family to be an Irish student-athlete. Her father, John (Xavier), and grandfather, Earl (Dayton), both played collegiate tennis.
- No. 81 player nationally
- Spring, TX
- Klein Cain High School
“Emily plays the game very aggressively. She is the kind of player who constantly makes things happen,” Gumpf explained. “We are excited to let her loose in the outfield with her capability to run down balls. She will provide a punch to our offensive line up as a triple threat and speed from the left side. We are excited to welcome Emily to the Irish softball program.”
A three-time team captain and MVP, Tran enters her senior season after earning First Team All-District honors in 2019 & 2020, as well as being named the district Newcomer of the Year in 2019. Tran also garnered Academic All-District honors in the 2019-20 seasons.
In her last full season (2019), Tran boasted a .560 batting average, .670 slugging percentage, 51 hits, 26 runs, 11 RBI and 32 stolen bases. She is the Klein Cain single-season record holder in multiple categories from that season, including most hits, most runs, highest batting average, most stolen bases and highest on-base percentage (.583). She was the 2020 recipient of the Klein Cain Woman of Will Athlete Award, sponsored by BSN Sports and Under Armour.
With Hotshots Premier, she won the inaugural TFL Championship, placing runner-up at the USA Nationals this past summer.
Off the field, Tran is the president of Mu Alpha Theta (Math National Honor Society) for the 2020-21 year, a position in which she helped organize a Halloween service project for patients at the Texas Children’s Hospital and donated more than 100 Halloween items for children. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.
“No one was lying when they said that what makes Notre Dame so special is the people,” Tran explained. “I chose Notre Dame because it feels like a home, from the welcoming softball program to the school’s amazing culture. Along with the family-like atmosphere, at no other school can you find a top-tier education and one that excels at athletics like Notre Dame.
“I can see myself developing as a woman and athlete at Notre Dame. The opportunity to attend such a prestigious college was too good to pass up, and that’s why I chose Notre Dame.”