As one of the finest defensive catchers and most clutch hitters in the Patriot League, Carolyn Wright '18, of Chula Vista, Calif., has established herself as a dominant force for the Mountain Hawks. After being named First-Team All-Patriot League catcher and League Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2017, Wright is now looking ahead to what she hopes will be a memorable senior season.
HOMETOWN: Chula Vista, Calif.
HOW I GOT STARTED IN SOFTBALL: My mom and dad both played softball and baseball, so naturally they had me start playing tee-ball when I was 5. While I tried other sports like soccer and basketball, I really loved softball because it was something my parents could both help me with.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT SOFTBALL: is learning the strategy behind each play. When on defense, we must have a different plan for what we will do in any possible situation before each pitch is thrown. When on offense, we must approach each at bat differently based on the pitcher, the position of the runners and the score and inning of the game. There is so much thinking involved in softball that playing a good opponent becomes more of a mental competition than a physical one.
HOW I ENDED UP AT LEHIGH: I chose Lehigh because it is a great mix of athletics and academics. When speaking to Coach [Fran] Troyan during the recruiting process, I learned that Lehigh was a place where I would be able to maintain my academics as my first priority while also having the chance to compete athletically on a Division I softball team. When my travel softball team played at a college showcase in New Jersey my freshman year of high school, I got the opportunity to visit Lehigh and three other schools, and I knew from that trip forward that I wanted to play my last four years of softball at Lehigh. The beautiful campus helped me make this easy decision, as well as the great reputation of the business school.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF BEING A CATCHER IS: making sure to form a good relationship with the umpire. Along with being friendly and making sure you protect the umpire from wild pitches, one of a catcher's jobs is to frame the pitcher's pitches to get as many strikes called as possible. However, it is really important to find the balance between getting potential strikes called and being as honest as possible with the umpire to keep his trust. Deciding which pitches to frame is a tiny but very important element of being a catcher, because having the umpire on your side helps you, your pitcher and your whole team.
THE KEY TO A GOOD AT-BAT IS: approaching it with a plan. Your plan should consider the score, the inning, where the runners are located on the bases, the pitcher and your own strengths. This involves a lot of quick thinking while in the on-deck circle. Once you are in the box, the key to a good at-bat becomes following through with your plan and having patience to look for the pitch you want. Confidence is also important in knowing that you've made a good plan, and you are going to execute it.
MY HEROES ARE: my mom and dad. They have done so much to get me where I am today, and they are the people I turn to for any advice or help that I need. I hope to be just like them someday!
THE BEST MOMENT OF MY LEHIGH CAREER SO FAR: has been winning the Patriot League Tournament my freshman year. While we also won my junior year, freshman year was extra special because I had no idea what that feeling would be like. I was lucky enough to catch in the championship game, and I have never felt so much energy and excitement as I did when I caught the game-ending pitch that made us Patriot League champions. I am lucky that I have been able to experience that feeling a second time my junior year, [and that I have] the potential to experience it for a third time this year.
THE BEST THING ABOUT THE LEHIGH SOFTBALL PROGRAM IS: the family the program has given me. As a freshman going to school across the country from my hometown of San Diego, I felt that I had an instant support system with my teammates and their families. Now that I am an upperclassman, I enjoy providing that same support system for the younger girls on the team.
THE BEST THING ABOUT LEHIGH AS A UNIVERSITY: are the professors. I am amazed by the availability and willingness of professors to help when students need assistance with a concept in class or when students need advice on which classes to take next semester, which internship offer to accept, or which state to take their CPA exam in. It has also meant a lot to me how many professors of mine have come to my softball games with their families. It is really cool to see such involved and compassionate professors, and it makes the Lehigh community feel even more closely knit.
MY GOALS FOR THIS SEASON ARE: to complete my journey as a Lehigh softball player to the best of my ability. As a senior, leading my team in the direction of another Patriot League title is both my job and my goal, and there are so many moving parts that need to fall into place. This season, I want to both do my personal best on the field as well as bring out the best in my teammates.
HOW I WOULD DESCRIBE MY LEADERSHIP STYLE: I would describe myself as a leader by example. In order to expect others to be their best, I know that I need to be my best in academics and athletics. I am not one to be incredibly loud or vocal, but I lead by showing others the ways that I have found to be successful, and by allowing them to learn from both my failures and successes.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GOOD TEAMMATE: I believe being a good teammate begins with having an appreciation for every one of your teammates and what they bring to the team. Having this appreciation leads to forming great and trusting relationships by showing them the ways you appreciate them. Knowing they are appreciated encourages every member of the team to rise to their highest potential because they know their efforts are noticed and making a difference. This results in the confidence of each player, which is how a team becomes really great.