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Dickinson High School athletic stand-out Hopfauf signs with University of North Dakota

Class A All-State athlete Taya Hopfauf has announced her choice of where she will begin her collegiate softball career.

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Taya Hopfauf signs with University of North Dakota softball program. (Contributed / Dickinson High School)

Dickinson High School multisport athlete Taya Hopfauf has committed to continue her softball career at the University of North Dakota following graduation. The high school senior said that she is excited to be on the verge of this new journey with a new team, while still possessing her positive and hard-working attitude.

Hopfauf has worked towards reaching division I ball since the eighth grade, capping off her junior year with the 2021 Class A state championship. She and her team made history as it was the Midgets first ever state championship in softball.

“Having played for this team at the varsity level since I was an eighth grader, I have definitely grown pretty close to my teammates and my coaching staff here,” Hopfauf said. “It is definitely going to be difficult and a pretty big transition to go from this team, which is like my family, to a whole other part of the state.”

While Hopfauf will take her skills and winning attitude the 350 miles across state, she said she believes the distance won’t affect her as she has the support of her family, friends and coaches no matter where she goes.

“My parents are very supportive in everything I do,” Hopfauf said. “I wouldn't have been able to be where I am without them and knowing that I am still in the state gives them some peace of mind.”

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She will not be totally in uncharted territory, her older brother Tanner Hopfauf attended UND. Hopfauf plans to study Speech–language pathology, starting with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with the intent to move into a career as a speech pathologist upon graduation.

A few weeks ago Hopfauf was given the opportunity to tour the campus and met her future teammates. She joins a class of five other high school senior athletes seeking to make an immediate impact for the Fighting Hawks in their first season.

“I know being part of a team of athletes that are all as interested in softball as I am, it is going to be pretty easy to gain some pretty close friendships there and I think those bonds I will create with my teammates and those memories with my team at practice, or at lifting, or at conditioning maybe aren't the most enjoyable at the time, but those are what are going to stick with me,” Hopfauf said. “I am excited for all those new memories and new friendships.”

For many high school seniors, the thought of closing one chapter and beginning another can be challenging, but for Hopfauf it’s the goal of becoming a pillar of strength and positivity for her next team that motivates her. For now, she wants to just enjoy the surreal feeling of reaching this point in her athletics and her education.

“To be given the opportunity to play at the division I level while at a school that I have always admired and wanted to go to is kind of the ultimate package deal for me,” Hopfauf said. “I just want to be someone on the team that is a positive influence no matter where I am. Someone who they can tell is enjoying their time there and putting forth their best effort at all times.”

Though Hopfauf still has a final season looming with her softball team in Dickinson, she has already accomplished a list of accolades whose credit she gives to all who have battled with her and even against her throughout her career.

“I would like to say thank you to the Dickinson Diamonds and Dickinson High School softball program. Being able to start in this sport at such a young age and to be able to compete all the way into my senior year of high school with the same team and the same girls is like anything else that other girls in the state are capable of experiencing,” she said. “Our program is different in that way, where we are all together. Summer, school ball, we are all the same team, one team together.”

Hopfauf added, “Thank you to my parents for everything they have done for me and all the time that they put in to get me to the point that I am today.”

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Taya Hopfauf will continue her softball career in the division I level at University of North Dakota. (Josiah C. Cuellar/The Dickinson Press)

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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