Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — One of the area’s best all-around softball talents officially found a college home.
Wheelersburg second baseman Boo Sturgill verbally committed to Carson-Newman University, via Twitter, on Friday — an NCAA Division II school located in Jefferson City, Tenn.
“Carson-Newman has an amazing atmosphere that makes me feel at home,” Sturgill said. “The coaches are very welcoming and gave me the time to make a huge life decision. The athletic facilities are top-notch and the winning tradition the softball team has is a very important part for me.”
The winning tradition that Sturgill mentions at Carson-Newman includes a legacy left by longtime head coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield, who won 1,161 games in her 33-year tenure — the third most in Division II history — before retiring in 2018.
Carson-Newman’s current head coach, Michael Graves, was an assistant under Kazee-Hollifield. Graves led the Eagles to a 14-4 record before the season was cancelled this past spring, and to a 29-12 mark in 2019.
“I am looking forward to winning conference titles and would like to compete for national titles as well,” Sturgill said. “I would also like to strive to become an All-American. I’m excited to create life-long friendships with my soon-to-be teammates.”
Sturgill is no stranger to winning traditions, either. She’ll fit right in.
As a sophomore, she hit .525 alongside a .881 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .624. The Pirates finished 21-3 before falling to Leesburg Fairfield in a Division III district final.
She’s now a senior after having her junior year stripped from her, like so many other athletes across the state of Ohio, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So when she steps back in between the lines this coming spring, she’ll be even more determined to lead Wheelersburg to a state title … which is always the goal under head coach Teresa Ruby.
“My family, teammates, and coaches are the reason for where I am today. Softball is a mental game and it’s sometimes hard to keep a positive mindset,” Sturgill said. “There have been times where I’ve been down on myself, but they were all in my corner to make sure I knew what I was capable of. My family has done everything they can to make sure I’m provided with all of the things I need to be successful, no matter the distance, time, or money it took to do so. I’m beyond thankful for all of the teammates I have become best friends with over the years and the amazing coaches I’ve had the opportunity to play for. They’ve made me better on and off the field.”
With one of her life’s biggest decisions out of the way, Sturgill can now simply focus on playing the game she loves as she enjoys one last go-around in the Pirates’ dugout.
“To be a college athlete means that all of the time and effort I’ve put into the game has finally payed off,” she said. “Most importantly, I’m blessed with four more years to play the game I love.”