Moving from Scotch Plains, New Jersey to Johns Creek, GA seemed like the right move for senior Kyra Lockhart, especially if it meant being closer to the college of her dreams, the University of Alabama. When Lockhart was only 15 years old, she received a full ride scholarship to play the game she loved at a Division I university.
“I always had a dream of playing at the highest level at one of the top schools in the country,” Lockhart said.
Lockhart’s scholarship completely covers the cost of tuition and other incidental expenses, such as meal plans and living expenses. She will get to live in the Riverside North Dorm, a suite style dorm, with three other athletes. Each athlete gets their own room, with a shared kitchen space and family room.
“It’s pretty awesome to be sharing a dorm with another softball player as well as two other athletes from different sports; that just seems so cool to me,” Lockhart said.
Last season, the University of Alabama finished seventh in national softball rankings, with a record of 51-14, and the previous year finishing sixth overall. In 2012, the Crimson Tide won the women’s National Championship, and has won 10 SEC titles.
“I don’t think I’ve reached my full potential yet, and there is so much room for me to grow as a player and as a person, and I feel the University of Alabama is a great program to help me grow. I am excited to see the kind of player I will be four years from now,” Lockhart said.
The road to her scholarship wasn’t a walk through the park. Lockhart had two supporters who influenced her the most and pushed her more to pursue her dream of continuing to play collegiate softball.
“From the start of my career, they told me I can do anything I set my mind to. At times I didn’t think I would be able to play at a big university for softball, but they really kept me on track and helped me maintain my focus,” Lockhart said.
To increase her appeal to college recruiters, Lockhart felt the need to focus on being a more all around player rather than a strong one in only a few aspects of the game, but one of her strengths stood out the most.
“The main factor that helped me achieve a scholarship was my hitting that I had worked really hard on so I could stand out to college coaches, especially Alabama,” Lockhart said.
Lockhart has already made a large impact on the team, even though it is only her first year with the ladies.
“Kyra is a great teammate, she is constantly picking everyone up and is always trying to bring the team together,” junior Katie Armstrong said.
Lockhart’s positive attitude stands out to her teammates both on and off the field.
“Whenever I see Kyra, she always has a smile on her face and is so friendly to everyone,” sophomore Madison Malvin said.
This season Lockhart is playing mainly first base and will probably play some more third base in the future. Lockhart has already hit four home-runs over only five games.
“She brings a lot of high-quality softball to this team and has a lot of experience,” head coach Evan Baker said.
Lockhart works hard to improve every day; she refuses to stop working now just because she has a scholarship to one of the top softball programs in the country.
“She struggles with some things in games, just as everyone does, but specifically with scooping and throwing the ball, but with Kyra we saw a significant growth from her in being able to apply those little things she works hard on in practice to games. She is constantly trying to be the best she can be,” Baker said.