Kristen Turner made her mark on South Jersey as a standout student, softball player and person. After completing her first year at Iona University, the first baseman is blazing a trail on her college and breaking NCAA records.
Turner graduated from Washington Township High School in 2013 where she achieved great academic status but also was a standout athlete. As a four-hole hitter for the Minutemaids during her senior season, she eclipsed 100 career hits and was a standout defensively at first base. She finished her high school career with an impressive 130 hits.
While at Township, Turner earned first-team all-conference, All-Group 4 and all-state. Plus, she capped it off with an academic award, being named the German student of the year.
Turner's impressive softball career didn't end on the fields in Washington Twp. She was a four-year member of the high-performing Jersey Gators, an ASA softball team. In her final season with the Gators she batted .489 and mashed 17 home runs.
"Kristen is the best hitter I ever coached, she hits for power and high average," said Gators coach John Biasi.
Biasi has been at the helm of the Gators since their inception in 2004. And over the last 10 years, the team has compiled an incredible record so being the best hitter he ever coached is a pretty impressive achievement.
It's not just Biasi's opinion that should be considered, in Turner's four-year career with the Gators she batted .461, had 42 home runs and 162 RBIs. On five separate occasions, she hit two home runs in the same game.
"I learned so much playing for the Gators and Coach Biasi, he prepared me to play at the next level and we had such a fun 4 years I will always cherish it"', Turner said of her time with the Gators.
"She was the most feared hitter in the region, our own players refused to throw batting practice to her. I have seen several players with similiarities to her in my 17 years of coaching but never one as good as Kristen Turner, and I dont think I ever will.
Turner who was recruited by schools such as Hofstra and Florida State decided to take a scholoarship to attend Iona University (N.Y.) and play softball where she would also major in Speech Pathology. She won a starting position as a freshmen and retained her four-hole batting spot and first base position.
Turner then went on to show everyone why she deserved to be there as a first year player.
In her first collegiate season, she set an Iona school record with 52 RBIs, a record previously held by fellow former Minutemaid Alyssa Maise (49). Turner also tied an NCAA record with five grand slams while tying the the Iona freshman home run record with 11 round-trippers. For her efforts, she was selected the 2014 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, first-team All-MAAC and second-team All-ECAC.
Three times during 2014, she was named the conference's rookie of the week and she was the conference's player of the week for the season's first week.
To no one's surprise, with a player like Turner on the roster Iona went on to win the MAAC title this year.
As summer is now upon the D1 college player and she's home spending time with family and friends, she certainly hasn't forgotten what helped her achieve all that she has done.
On a hot night in July, Turner was on the practice field with the current Gators working with them as they prepare to head out to two very high-level tournaments.
"Coach John helped me become the player I am today, so I want to always be there to assist him if he needs it", said Turner. "My best friend is on the team and it's great to know I created a bond with the girls. I love coming back to practices with them."
Kristen Turner certainly made her mark on South Jersey and will undoubtly continue to do so at Iona and in the NCAA.
Please come back to our site tomorrow for a story on Coach John Biasi and the Jersey Gators. Their success is nothing short of remarkable.