Carla Mendez | Assistant Sports Director
The FIU softball team rounded out their 2024 roster and signed a total of four new student-athletes on Dec. 4, 2023.
Entering his third season at the helm, head coach Mike Larabee looked to add talent on both sides of the ball and brought in multiple new players as a result. Among their four new signings, three are incoming freshmen and one is a junior college transfer.
Acquiring young talent, the Panthers brought in freshmen infielders Ciera Diaz, Jensen Luke, Samantha Zelenka. Both Diaz and Zelenka play middle infielder while Luke is listed as an infielder.
Dominating the high school level, Diaz held a .350 batting average or higher over her last three seasons with Newsome High School in Lithia, Florida. Finishing a .427 average in 2023, she was honored with a First Team All-Western conference selection.
Zelenka, measuring in at 5-5, joins Diaz in the midfield after spending her high school career with Florida Christian in Miami, Florida. Delivering power at the plate, she held a .557 batting average, collected 97 runs and 17 home runs over her career.
Looking to add versatility to their infield, they also brought in Luke, who is capable of playing multiple positions.
Standing at 5-2, she’s played all over the infield with experience at second, third, and shortstop. In her sophomore season with Eustis High School in Eustis, Florida, she played a pivotal role in leading them to the Florida State 4A Championship in 2021.
Beyond building for the future, FIU also wanted to add experience to their roster. To round out their signings, they brought in junior infielder Kendall Catherwood from St. John’s River State College in Jacksonville, Florida.
Prior to her time at the JUCO level, she played at Creekside High School in St. John’s, Florida, where she was selected to the first-team All-County in her senior season.
As a more experienced collegiate player, Catherwood brings discipline and precision at the plate. Over her 229 total plate appearances in 2023, she was only struck out seven times.
Due to her consistency as a hitter, she was honored as a NJCAA All-Region choice and named St. John’s River State College Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 2023.
Bringing in a total of four new student-athletes for the 2024 season, the FIU softball team begins their campaign on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024 against the Southeast Missouri Redhawks in Miami, Florida.
Follow Carla Mendez on X: @carladfmendez