A star athlete for the Banquete Lady Bulldogs signed a four-year athletic scholarship with a NCAA Division I school last week, the first such signing in recent memory.
Sitting in front of a crowd of fellow students in the Banquete High School gymnasium Wednesday, Nieves Pena signed the paperwork to play ball for the University of Arkansas- Pine Bluff, where she will join the "Lady Golden Lions."
"I'm at a loss for words right now," Pena said after the ceremony. "I'm excited that I'm going to play Division I."
Pena said she was initially reluctant to attend an out-of-state college, but said the coaching staff at UAPB won her confidence.
"He went into details of my stats, and broke down play-by-play what my weaknesses and my strengths are," Pena said. "Me and the coach really connected. There were a lot of other schools that offered me (a scholarship), but I didn't feel that bond that I felt there."
Pena will be studying Kinesiology at the university.
"When I was little, this was my childhood dream. I watched the big schools like Texas and Texas A&M playing on TV, and I wanted to be up there one day."
Pena's father, Hermilo Pena Jr., said he was proud of his daughter's accomplishments.
"Today is a monumental event for us. Number one for this community," Pena said. "For us as a family, it's demonstrated by her abilities and the support of her family, that if you dream you can achieve.
Also on Wednesday, Pena's teammate, Lindsie Chapa, agreed to play basketball for the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Chapa received a four-year academic scholarship to the school.