On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, Upper Dublin seniors Lauren Carboni, Courtney McKenna & Gretchen Wolpert were recognized for committing to continue their softball careers at the collegiate level. The trio was part of a special college recognition event. The remaining student-athletes will be recognized by sport in the near future. Check back for a gallery of photos.
Lauren Carboni – Immaculata University (Softball)
Major: Elementary Education/Special Education
Final list of colleges: Immaculata University, Marywood University, Chatham University
Reasons for choosing Immaculata: “When I visited Immaculata, my initial thought of the campus was that it is beautiful. I had visited other schools before, but once I saw Immaculata, I truly felt I could see myself walking the campus and being a student there.
“On top of that, the facilities and programs that the school has to offer are incredible. Coach Mike Wallace described his team as a family atmosphere, which I loved. The importance of togetherness is special to me and helped my decision immensely. I cannot wait to start school in the fall of 2021 as a Mighty Mac!”
What was the progression that led you to competing in softball at the collegiate level? “I started playing softball in fourth grade. I was always playing multiple sports when I was younger like soccer, basketball, swimming. My freshman and sophomore year of high school I played water polo as well as softball, and I had to make the hard decision to focus on softball and work on getting recruited the next year.
“My experience with my school team definitely impacted my decision to continue playing at the collegiate level. All of my coaches, family members and friends believed in me, which pushed my desire to pursue collegiate softball. Overall, I know I am happier with softball in my life than without it.”
Coach Heather Boyer says: “Lauren has come a long way. She has really committed herself to learning the position of catcher but also is working at her craft as an infielder, as a third baseman, and is working hard to become that versatile piece that a lot of college coaches are looking for. She’s really gutted it out. She’s played through some pain and injuries along the way and does her best to just be there for her team and has an unbelievable bat. That girl has hit some balls that I think are still in the air and really had a bust-out season as a sophomore. We were expecting a lot of all of them last season, which didn’t happen, so hopefully, 2021 will give them the opportunity to really shine. I think she’ll be one of the top hitters in the league.”
Favorite food: Pickles
Favorite movie: Harry Potter
Favorite TV show: The 100
Favorite artist: Post Malone
Courtney McKenna – Neumann University (Softball)
Final list of colleges: Neumann University, Cabrini University, Alvernia University
Reasons for choosing Neumann: “I chose Neumann for many reasons, not only because of the beautiful campus and competitive sports teams, but the flexibility and the feeling I experienced when seeing the school. Being a nursing major and wanting to play a sport was a tough challenge. When I visited Neumann, I was informed that I would be allowed to attend class instead of practice and not be held to it. I also found that I had the best connection with Coach (George) White, who came off as approachable and friendly. He explained how he was a normal parent and dad who loved the game as much as I do.”
What was the progression that led you to playing softball at the collegiate level? “Once I left the rec league and experienced a more competitive game, I fell in love with the idea of the game becoming more and more intense as you age. Also, I love the sport. It brings me joy and is my escape from all the stress in my life. I began to lightly touch on the subject in eighth grade, but I didn’t commit to the idea of playing in college until I was a sophomore.
“My recruiting process began with directly emailing colleges footage of me playing and schedules for my season. I had also created a recruiting profile on a web site for coaches to see my grades and other achievements outside the game. I personally found that I had better luck hearing back from coaches when I reached out directly. Sadly, with the pandemic, my junior season was cancelled, and I was worried that this would affect my process. Luckily, I was able to find a coach who was determined to meet me and talk more about me joining the their team. From there, I quickly fell in love with it and knew it was the place for me to finish my softball career at.”
Coach Heather Boyer says: “Courtney McKenna is a pitcher, and she’s a versatile player as well – a little bit of first base, infield, she can play outfield and she is an advocate for the sport. She loves to play. She’s an advocate for travel ball and really puts a lot into her pitching with lessons and things of that nature. She focuses hard on what she needs to improve and just has a good work ethic to try and elevate her game to the next level.”
Favorite food: Chicken Quesadillas
Favorite TV show: The Great British Baking Show
Favorite artist: Lorde
Gretchen Wolpert – Pfeiffer University (Softball)
Major: Sports Management
Final list of colleges: Pfeiffer University, University of Delaware, University of Alabama, Towson University, College of Charleston, Drexel University
Reasons for choosing Pfeiffer: “I chose Pfeiffer University because I loved the atmosphere that the campus brought me, and I just really enjoyed being there. Pfeiffer also has one of the best Sports Management programs in the country, and I hope to have a career in sports after college. My future coaches, coach Vada Blue Sherrill and coach Monte Sherrill, made my visit to Pfeiffer so fun and enjoyable and left me with such a great feeling about the team and school. Coach Monte Sherrill is a 950-win coach, and it’s just an amazing opportunity for me to play in a program like he has built at Pfeiffer. There are so many resources at Pfeiffer that will help me in my future career, and I cannot wait to be a part of such an amazing school and softball program. Go Falcons!
What was the progression that led you to competing in softball at the collegiate level? “I started playing softball when I was six years old. From that time, I had fallen in love with the sport and I had started to watch more of the collegiate side of softball. I knew that I wanted to play in college and wear a uniform that represents my college.
“I started the recruiting process in middle school and went on my first visit to Drexel University when I was in seventh grade. From then, I kept working on making myself the best athlete I could be. I got injured in the summer of my junior year and had to come back even stronger than before. I went on more visits at both large and small schools, and over the summer, I found my home at Pfeiffer University where I will be continuing my academic career and playing the sport I have loved since I was a child.”
Coach Heather Boyer says: “All three of them have been a pleasure to coach. Gretchen has probably put in more hours than I’ve ever seen another player put in. She just works and works and works and really tries to elevate her game to the best of her ability. She doesn’t settle to be good. She wants to be the best she can be and get better every day, so it’s not unusual for her to go from a game where she wasn’t as sharp at the plate as she wanted to be and go see her hitting coach to get extra reps in. The girl grinds, and it’s fun to watch somebody who is so passionate about the game and excited to play and excited to take advantage of every opportunity that’s afforded her. She works hard at it, and that coupled with her natural ability and talent – she’s a very good student of the game too, so that makes it fun to coach because it gives a whole well-rounded piece.”
Favorite food: Chicken Parmesan
Favorite TV show: The Office
Favorite artists: Morgan Wallen and Riley Green
All SuburbanOneSports.com articles (or portion of articles) can be turned into keepsakes. For information, please click on the following link: https://www.suburbanonesports.com/article/content/turn-online-features-keepsake-posters-0086874