Jun. 23—Marysville High 2022 graduate and softball star Riley Duff will be headed to Briar Cliff University on a full softball scholarship next year.
Briar Cliff is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics member university based out of Iowa.
Duff said she had many options to play at the next level, including Oregon and Oregon State of the Pac-12 Conference, as well as Texas Tech of the Big 12. However, Duff said the aforementioned universities did not offer any sort of financial assistance to Duff and her family.
"We just couldn't afford any of those schools without it," Duff said.
As a part of the recruitment process, Duff and her family received help from a Yuba City family-owned business known as 3D Floor Covering, Inc.
Danielle McDonald — who has owned 3D Floor Covering, Inc. alongside her husband, Dusty McDonald, and mother, Valerie Dmoski for the past 15 years — said the role of the business was to sponsor Duff and help with access to Briar Cliff University to visit and become acclimated with the new surroundings.
"Once we heard about her full ride offer to Iowa, we knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity (and) we wanted to help her immediately," Danielle McDonald said. "We offered to sponsor her and bought her and her mother two round-trip tickets in order to see the college, take (a) tour and meet with her new softball coach and team."
The year-long relationship began after Duff and Yuba City High softball player Drew McDonald, 16, met on a travel softball team.
Danielle McDonald said the two high school rivals became friends and developed a rapport on and off the field.
"We love her work ethic, authenticity, and talent," McDonald said of Duff. "We knew we wanted to support her in any way we could."
3D Floor Covering, McDonald said, has sponsored athletes before, but with Duff it is the first time helping one toward a full scholarship.
"Hard-working athletes with once in a lifetime offers deserve any support they can get," McDonald said.
Duff, who was MVP of the Pioneer Valley League during Marysville's 20-5 finish and run to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV final, said she is a pre-med major in biochemistry next year at Briar Cliff.
"I am mostly looking forward to getting to play at that next level and push myself to be the best that I can be," Duff said. "I want to be a pediatrician."
Duff said she wouldn't know where she would be without the support of the McDonald family, Shaun Bailey, Travis Hill (Rachel), Steve Soblit (Shannon), Maurice Clavelle, Tommy Baker, Chris Larsen (Sherry), Robert Quillin and Dennis Pope and Courtney Smith and her family.