Friendship forged in college

Local prep stars who didn’t meet until after high school are a support network for each other

AMANDA PARSONS AND HALEIGH BARES attended nearby high schools but never met until they got to Concordia University-St. Paul. Parsons. Though they live across the border, their allegiance to the Green Bay Packers remains.
Ozaukee Press staff

Grafton’s Amanda Parsons and Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Haleigh Bares starred in different sports throughout their youth and high school careers.

Parsons dominated as catcher in softball, becoming the only two-time North Shore Conference Player of the Year and leading the Black Hawks to its first league title in school history.

Bares was among the scoring leaders on the Rockets’ soccer team and made the Big East first team twice.

The two schools are only 23 miles away, but Parsons and Bares didn’t know each other.

Until they went to college.

Both selected to continue being student-athletes at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn. They knew of each other since Parsons’ father Scott is the athletic director for Cedar Grove-Belgium High School.

But it wasn’t sports that brought them together.

The two met playing bingo at the university’s welcome weekend. They shared a bingo card and won a board came called Catan.

“From the start I knew I was going to like Haleigh,” Amanda Parsons said.

Bares also felt an instant connection.

“We’ve been friends ever since then, and I guess it was just God’s plan for that to happen,” she said.

Bares jumped into college athletics first, since soccer is during the fall, and she excelled right away.

Bares played midfield in all 19 games for the Golden Bears and started 15. Bares took 13 shots, seven of which were on goal for a .538 percentage.

The team went 10-8-1, its best record since the school has played in Division 2, finished sixth in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and qualified for the NSIC Tournament.

Bares was chosen as the team’s Rookie of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year, and she made the NSIC third team.

“I was very surprised when I found out about that because I was not expecting it at all,” she said of the all-conference honor.

One of her biggest fans was one of her new classmates.

“I love watching Haleigh’s soccer games because she kills it,” Parsons said.

Parsons is shining in her sport as well. With six games left in the season, she is hitting .288 with four home runs, five doubles and 14 RBI. She has a fielding percentage of .980. The team is 26-18.

Both have found the adjustment to college athletics to be a challenge and said their teammates and coaches have been helpful.

“The biggest changes for me would be starting out the lifting program and getting used to the practice schedule. It was also difficult at first to manage classes and soccer, but I learned how to manage my time to get everything done,” Bares said.

“The speed of play in the game was much quicker, and there was a lot more physicality since everyone I played against has been on a college lifting program,” Bares said.

Parsons had to adjust to a new coach and a busier schedule.

“I have never played this much softball in my life. My freshman year of softball has been a challenge because I knew I would mess up in order to learn. The best way to learn in softball is to learn from mistakes and experience,” she said.

“Overall, my freshman year of softball has been one of the most challenging yet amazing times of my life.”

The pair made it a priority to watch Green Bay Packers games together and update each other on Wisconsin news.

“It’s hard being hours away from friends and family, but it helps to have a friend that is going through the same struggle,” Bares said.

“In a place where everything was new, Haleigh was the one thing that was familiar. It was easy to talk to her about things because she knew some of my high school friends and she understands the area,” Parsons said.

Bares came in undecided on a major but has chosen biology. She is considering pursuing a career in occupational or physical therapy or becoming a physician’s assistant. She is an event work study worker in the athletic department with a variety of tasks on her plate.

Parsons is majoring in business management and isn’t sure what she wants to do yet.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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