Name: Erika Noftall
High school: Ipswich
Spring sport you play: Softball
What do you think that you'll tell your children and grandchildren what it was like to graduate during the pandemic of 2020?: I'll definitely tell them that it was a once in a lifetime experience that I wish they'll never have to go through. However, I'll also them that despite the fact I didn’t get to finish my senior year or properly graduate, I made the best of the situation and I stayed hopeful throughout.
In which area of your game do you feel like you had improved the most heading into the spring season?: Definitely pitching. Over the years I've struggled and worked through a shoulder injury. In December 2019, I went through a series of doctor's appointments, scans, physical therapy and procedures to find out I had torn my labrum. This was a really big setback for me, because I was forced to take a few months off from pitching. When I was cleared I worked tirelessly to get back to where I was, and thanks to an amazing pitching instructor and lots of practice I can proudly say I'm better than I was before my injury.
Who is the teammate that always pushed you the hardest in practice?: My sister (Katherine) was always teaching me things day after day; she was always encouraging me to try my hardest. But when Lexi James came into the program last year, she was a really big motivation for me to be the best I could be. She was always right behind me cheering me on, no matter the situation.
What kind of influence did Katherine have on your softball career?: I truly don’t think I'd be half the softball player I am today if it wasn’t for Katherine. Growing up together playing softball, I always looked up to her and the player she was. My sister and I have played multiple sports together, but softball was always the No. 1 sport in our house. Katherine has taught me almost everything I know about the game; she would always pick me up after a bad game and help me celebrate after the good games. She's also an incredible leader, and it's only fitting that she went on to play for Bentley University.
Now that you've officially graduated, which teacher that you had at IHS had the biggest impact on you?: It's definitely hard to pick just one teacher, but for me it would be Mrs. (Megan) Horst, my geometry teacher sophomore year. Math has always been something that I really struggle with. I’ve done summer courses, had tutors, and endless nights with my mom trying to be better at it, but I still struggled. Mrs. Horst was the first math teacher I ever had that was patient and thoughtful of my learning style. She helped when I was struggling, but also taught me how to be able to work through it on my own. She made a big impact on me because she changed the way I viewed math and learning as a whole.
Where will you be going to college?: This fall I'll be attending the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. I'm enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program. I'll also be continuing my softball and pitching career at UNE next spring.
What will you miss the most about Ipswich when you're away at college?: I'm definitely going to miss my friends the most. Along with that all of the beautiful places to go in Ipswich with your friends: Neck runs, Crane’s, Hood’s Pond, Riverview and even just sitting in the school parking lot. I’m going to miss this small town when I go to school in the fall, but I know it'll always be here for me when I come back.
Can you tell us what's been the best thing you've done during quarantine?: Even though I was late to the trend, I started watching 'Grey’s Anatomy' and I love it. It definitely gave me something interesting to watch while I was stuck in the house. My sister and I also did some DIY projects in our free time.
— As told to Phil Stacey