Nija Canady reflects on her freshman year at Stanford

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 10:54 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka High alum Nija Canady has taken the collegiate softball world by storm as a true freshman.

”Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first year playing,” she told 13 Sports.

She may not have known what to expect, but she has certainly thrived in her newfound role as a Division I softball player.

“I know I’m doing pretty decent my freshman year, but there’s still so many aspects of the game I can work on,” Canady said.

Pretty decent isn’t even close to the truth. The Topeka native is the nation’s ERA and strikeout per seven innings leader in her first year with No. 9 Stanford.

“I feel like every game we’re just getting closer and closer to our main goal,” said Canady.

After her shutout win against No. 20 Florida in the NCAA Regionals on Saturday, she’s now 15-1 on the season, totaling 177 strikeouts, and is a Top 10 finalist for the NFCA Freshman of the Year. Not to mention, she’s garnered All-Pac 12 First and Freshman team honors.

“I know if I pitch my best, I know my team’s gonna give it their all out there. So I’m confident in what we can do,” said Canady.

For Nija, the personal achievements are cool, but it’s all about taking her team to the level she knows they can compete at.

“To be able to help bring my team to this, to our goal. I of course want to do everything I can to take this team back to the Women’s College World Series,” she said.

Her stellar season led the Cardinals to host their first NCAA Regional since 2011, and they’re now looking to advance to back-to-back Super Regionals for the first time since 2009.

“Just taking it one game at a time, and if we keep doing that, hopefully we’ll find ourselves in Oklahoma City,” said Canady when asked about their postseason mindset.

With this being just her first year on the national stage, the former Trojan knows the sky is pretty much the limit. She wants to get even closer to it in the next few weeks.

“Hopefully all goes well, and we find ourselves in the Super Regionals next week, and the World Series after that.”

Stanford will play in their regional finals on Sunday.