High School Sports

DFW junior, Harding commit uses Children’s Health to come back stronger in 2019

Frisco Wakeland outfielder Ashton Bryce is one of the top 2020 prospects in Dallas-Fort Worth, but it didn’t come easy for the Harding softball commit.

Bryce had two knee injuries, one on each leg, the first two years of her high school career. She was able to play for Wakeland as a freshman, but missed her sophomore season.

She also missed summer ball in 2018 for her select team, Texas Glory.

But with the help of Children’s Health Andrews Institute Sports Performance powered by EXOS, Bryce built back her strength and confidence on the diamond.

“Children’s Health and EXOS has been without a doubt in my mind career changing for me. Without them, I would not be the player or person I am today,” she said. “The coaches are determined to help you grow and become the best athlete physically and mentally.”

Wakeland junior Ashton Bryce during training with Children’s Health and EXOS. Juan Pulido Children's Hospital

Bryce was first introduced to EXOS through Texas Glory. She went after they were having a free trial and fell in love with it. She continued to train with coach Jacob Rivera three days a week during the off-season.

“That’s where I trained after my surgery and physical therapy to help me get back into playing condition,” she said. “These past couple of years have been some of the hardest years of my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Bryce graduated from their Bridge Program in November 2018 and plans to return for group training sessions until she heads off to Harding.

“Going through two surgeries in less than two years took a mental and physical toll on me, but not only did they help me come back stronger from my surgery physically, they helped to boost me mentally as well,” Bryce said. “They have taught me to trust the process and to keep a positive mindset and nothing can stand in your way of becoming great.

Wakeland junior Ashton Bryce during training with Children’s Health and EXOS. Juan Pulido Children's Health

“Because of EXOS and the Bridge program, I was able to get back on the field several months earlier than anticipated, which was huge. EXOS has become a second home to me and the coaches have become a second family and I am so grateful for their love and support throughout this whole process.”

Bryce plans to go to Harding and study Early Childhood Education, but after her experience with Children’s Health and EXOS, she’s thought about studying Exercise Science too.

“I chose Harding because the moment I stepped on the beautiful campus it felt like home. I felt safe and welcome by every single person I met. I would go there even if I wasn’t going to play softball,” said Bryce, who’s been playing softball since she was 5. “Being around the coaches and players felt like family to me, and I couldn’t get that feeling at any other school. I am absolutely in love with Harding and I can’t wait to be there in a couple of years.”

The Wolverines were district champs and reached the regional quarterfinals in 2017 when Bryce was a freshman. She was named all-district honorable mention.

Wakeland won district and reached the area round in 2018.

This season, the Wolverines are 5-3 in District 9-5A. Bryce leads the team with 20 hits, a .588 batting average and three home runs, and is second with 13 RBI. She’s had a home run with 5 RBI in two games this year, against Frisco on March 14 and Pilot Point on Feb. 16.

“I’ve played softball for almost 12 years. I’ve played other sports throughout my career, but nothing gave me the same joy as softball did. I love the intensity and competitiveness of the game and how you have to work as a team to be successful,” Bryce said. “Being on the field brings me so much love and passion that I never knew was possible.

“I always knew that softball was my passion and it still is to this day and will continue to be until the day I hang up my cleats. This game has taught me so much that I will use later on in life in the real world and I am so grateful to be able to play this amazing sport.”

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.