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Stepping onto the mound for her last year of high school softball, senior Lauren Fuller decided this year had to be special.
“Entering this season I had a drive to make it the best,” Fuller said, “not only because it is my last year playing with these girls and for Rock Bridge but also because I wanted to end my year with a bang.”
Verbally committing to a Division I school, University of North Carolina— Chapel Hill, her junior year lifted a lot of pressure from Fuller’s shoulders.
The commitment “takes a lot of stress off of applying to other schools, the recruiting process, sending out e-mails to coaches and all of that stuff,” Fuller said. “I am very fortunate to have already verbally committed to my dream school. It makes my senior year a lot more enjoyable.”
As a result, Fuller has put a lot of work into her softball career, something her teammates have also noticed.
“I think Lauren did a great job this year,” senior Kelsey Harrington said. “Although she already decided where she is playing in college, she still had the motivation to do her best and to make the most of every practice.”
Along with holding her head up in softball, Fuller has had to continue to keep up her grades. When not on the softball field, Fuller spends her time studying and preparing for her two Advanced Placement classes.
“I want to do well [in school] so that I can have some credit going into school,” Fuller said, “so it makes [college] less challenging.”
Fuller knows her workload in college will be more challenging than it is now. And with potentially unlimited hours on the softball field, Fuller has already started to prepare mentally by accepting that she will have a busy freshman year.
“I have played with some girls from Kansas City that graduated last year and are now playing at Division I schools, and all they talk about is how busy it is and how much work” they have, Fuller said. “I am not sure what to expect, but I just know that I am going to be very busy.”
Although she knows next year will be tough, she looks forward to attending her “dream school.” After playing softball with her traveling team and hearing her teammates talk about playing in college, Fuller is confident of her commitment.
“I have always wanted to go to UNC,” Fuller said. “I really like North Carolina because a lot of my family lives in North Carolina, and it’s really pretty there. It has always been a dream of mine.”
Her dream came true when she became one of the four athletes invited to attend a UNC camp after her sophomore year to watch its softball team play. There, UNC recruited her to play for its team, and Fuller verbally committed.
At the camp the coaches “asked if I would be interested in playing [for UNC], and they laid out scholarships and stuff like that,” Fuller said. “I was really excited, but I didn’t necessarily think they were going to actually offer a chance for me to play at UNC when we were down there.”
Although she is thrilled to play as a collegiate athlete, Fuller will miss the relationships she built with her Bruin team.
“I am most excited for the opportunity to go to UNC and to play a sport that I love,” Fuller said, “although, I am going to miss my teammates and my coaches from my four years playing for Rock Bridge. It has been a great experience, but I can’t wait to see where my softball career will take me.”
By Caraline Trecha