SHELLEY - Tuesday was a pretty busy day for Ashlee Hathaway, as she and her teammates prepared for the 4A High Country Conference District Softball Tournament.
But before the buses could leave for the Blackfoot softball fields, Hathaway had another obligation. Committing to her collegiate future.
Surrounded by her parents, teammates, and friends, Hathaway signed her letter of intent to continue playing softball at Colby Community College (Kansas). Ashlee hopes to earn her degree in art.
Hathaway's older sister Courtney also attended Colby, making the transition to the Sunflower State a familiar one for Ashlee and her family.
"My sister went there, and the coach already had an eye on me…so it was just kind of an easier thing," said a gleeful Ashlee.
Ashlee has been fortunate enough to play with her younger sister Lacy this season.
Hathaway has played one year for the Russets after transferring from Bonneville and has assumed the role of a do-it-all player. Along with playing in the infield for Shelley, Hathaway also has played in the outfield and pitches in relieving duty for the Russets.
According to Ashlee, she'll play in the outfield to start for Colby before eventually playing either second base or shortstop.
Shelley Softball Head Coach Travis Perez was one of those in attendance today to watch Hathaway sign her letter of intent. Perez stated that along with getting a great athlete in Hathaway, they're also getting a smart player.
"She knows the game of softball inside and out. And when it comes to being on the bases, she understands when to go and when to hold up… She's a great hitter, and does a good job inside the box reading pitches… Just a very well-rounded and talented player," said Perez
And while she's made her mark this season for the Russets, it took Ashley some time to find her "role" on this Russet team and where she'd fit in best. But with time, Ashlee grew into one of the team's leaders, a role she's embraced throughout the season.
"I didn't know if they [Shelley] needed a leader or if I needed to be a follower. So I had to first find my position. But once I found that I took off and I was helping and trying to do my best in the role that needed to be filled," said Hathaway.
Ashlee credits her family, specifically her parents Taff and Lani, for helping her become the athlete she is today. But there are also some other influences who have helped push Ashlee to become the softball player she is today.
"My parents are a big part of it. They've always supported me, and we'd travel to Utah to play softball. I also had an Uncle who saw me play when I was little, and he'd push me to be better in the sport… I also played with college girls on a team. I was the youngest one on the team and the only player not in college. So that really helped me also," said Ashlee.
Colby Community College is located in Colby, Kansas, and competes in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC). The Trojans are currently first in the West Division with a 30-19 record.
But before Hathaway joins the Trojans, she'll play at least two more games for the Russets. Shelley goes into the District VI bracket as the five seed.
No matter what plays out this week for Shelley, it's the good times that Ashlee will take away with her as she moves on in her athletic career.
"They're just so easy to get along with," said Ashlee when talking about her Russet teammates.
"I immediately had friends here, and they were so kind to me, and I immediately felt like myself… We would just have dance parties in between innings and things like that. So those will be my favorite memories, is being silly while still having fun."
Ashlee and the Russets play Skyline today at 3:30 p.m in the first round of the District VI tournament.