For Sarah Young, Wednesday was a day she's been waiting for since elementary school! Her love for playing softball transcends nine innings.
Sarah knows that game time is just a small part of the game. Nestled within the long practices, the sweaty visors, and the clay-stained jerseys are lessons to be learned, taught, and carried with you.
In 11th grade, Sarah was recruited by Rollins College, a NCAA division 2 college expressively touted as the number one private college in the southeast, and received a verbal commitment from this institution. She just had to keep playing hard and sharpening her skills. And she did.
Sarah joined a travel softball team, “Inferno”; became a standout player for Canterbury; has helped Coach Moore lead summer camps for upcoming players in the area; and attended summer softball programs at Rollins as well.
Wednesday was a celebration of it all when Sarah signed her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida in front of her family, her teammates, coaches, and a virtual audience of friends and fans at Canterbury!
Sarah earned her first starting position on the Varsity team in the 8th grade, as a commanding member in right field of Canterbury's 2017 state championship team. It was a position she had not played before, and she took the job seriously. She then transitioned to another position because it was in the best interest of the team, once again learning the position with dedication.
Coach Moore recalls, “When we needed a pitcher she said, 'Yes, Coach, I'll try it!' When we needed a shortstop, again, 'Yes, Coach, I'll try it!' First base? The same answer. Sarah has always put the team first.”
Lessons to teach…
Over the mandatory quarantine last year, Sarah had a lot of time to reflect. She reached out to Coach Moore to discuss leadership and what it meant to her...not to discuss the team's fitness needs or softball skills, but about how to be the best leader for her team.
They discussed one of her main goals for this year's varsity team, for her team to become the academic leaders in our area, further illustrating that she truly knows what it takes to be a champion. By Coach Moore’s definition, this means “all players moving together in a positive direction: physically, emotionally, and mentally.”
When asked, each of Sarah’s teammates described her in a word or two. Their responses were: outgoing, a leader, one-of-a-kind, a leader, caring, a role model, determined, helpful, caring, kind, a role model, a leader...a leader.
"It should be no surprise that we see a pattern here," said Varsity Softball Coach Jody Moore. "Sarah is a player who exhibits positive character, leadership, work ethic, and dedication both on and off the field. These are all values that I know are important to the Rollins College softball program, and they are lucky to get a person, a player, and a student like Sarah Young.”
Without a doubt, her teammates look to her for leadership.
Lessons carried on…
Moving to the next level, Sarah will take a ton of gratitude with her.
In the speech made at Wednesday’s signing, Sarah took the opportunity to acknowledge her “teammates” on and off the field because she knows it wasn’t her talent alone that got her to the next level. There has been a community of people guiding her, assisting her, teaching her, mentoring her, cheering for her, and certainly waiting to see what she’ll do next.
From Sarah’s speech:
To Trey Bond (who was one of her travel ball coaches and first little league coach): “The most important thing that he taught me was how to love the game of softball.”
To hitting coach Frankie Colon: “I would [...] like to thank Frankie Colon for teaching me everything I know about hitting and for also always caring about how I’m doing not only in softball but also in life.”
To Canterbury faculty and staff: "I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from the entire Canterbury staff and from all of my coaches."
To Coach Talley: “Thank you for all you have done for the sports programs at this school.”
To Coaches Gomez, Posey, Garcia, Todd, and Krissy: “Thank you for volunteering your time to make me a better player. You have made my experience with Canterbury softball so special. Thank you.”
To Coach Moore: “You have not only taught me how to be successful on the softball field but also taught me how to translate that into being successful in life. I would not be the person or player I am today without you, and I am excited to follow in your footsteps at Rollins”
To her Canterbury teammates: “The softball team at this school has really been like a second family for me. I want to thank all my teammates for making me enjoy all my time spent on the field with them.”
To Canterbury alum and friend Milan Posey: “You’re my favorite person to share the field with, and it’s never the same without you behind me.”
To Mom, Jill Young, and Dad, Roger Young: “Every time I look into the stands, no matter what sport I’m playing or what state I’m in, I can always count on you being there. You’ve always been excited to watch me play, and I am so thankful that I have parents who are so involved in my life. I will forever cherish the time spent at the ball fields and practicing in the back yard. Thank you for everything you do for me.”
To Laura and Drew: “Thank you for always be willing to practice with me, even if it was because you wanted to challenge me because you thought you could throw the ball further than me. Drew, keep working hard so that one day I can come back here to this table and sit for your signing ceremony.”
To her Grandfather: “I always look forward to talking you after all of my games about how I did and how my team is doing. Thank you for being so involved in all my sports.”
To both of her Grandmothers: “Thank you for being here today. I can’t wait for you to come visit me in Winter Park. I love you both.”
To her whole family: “Thank you [...] for the constant support I have from all of you. I love you all so much.”
Coach Talley acknowledged that Sarah has been an outstanding asset to our community as a whole. “She’s a well-rounded student-athlete participating in Varsity volleyball, softball, soccer, and basketball and was also named the 2019 Student Athlete of the Year for the Crusaders. It has been a joy to watch her grow into the person is she becoming.”
Coach Moore share that "Sarah has been a part of the building process of our program here at Canterbury - helping to take it from something good to something great. She is a true team player, a selfless leader.”