Hoopoe ready to continue softball at next level

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Liberty Hill senior Megan Huppee, second from right, signed to play softball at Tennessee State University after graduation. On hand for her signing last Friday were, from left, assistant softball coaches Carlos Garza and Kristen Brewer, mother Christine Huppee, Megan Huppee and head softball coach Charice Hankins. (Lauren Jette Photo)

Liberty Hill senior Megan Huppee, second from right, signed to play softball at Tennessee State University after graduation. On hand for her signing last Friday were, from left, assistant softball coaches Carlos Garza and Kristen Brewer, mother Christine Huppee, Megan Huppee and head softball coach Charice Hankins. (Lauren Jette Photo)

By Lauren Jette

Years of hard work and dedication paid off in a big way for Liberty Hill senior Megan Huppee when she signed a letter of intent to play softball for Tennessee State University on Nov. 13.

“I know this has been my dream,” Huppee said.

“People would ask me ‘oh, what do you want to do when you grow up?’ and I would say ‘I want to play softball’. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a job and all that, but I knew I wanted to go play softball somewhere and now I can finally say, yeah, I conquered that goal, let’s see what else the world holds for me.”

Huppee’s softball career started at a young age with T-ball, and continued right on through high school, where she has played on the Lady Panthers’ varsity squad since her sophomore year, and served as starting first baseman for last year’s regional semifinal championship team.

“Megan is a great athlete,” said softball coach Charice Hankins. “She is a great basketball and softball player, and brings much leadership to the court and field.  She is a very hard worker on and off the field and leads by example.”

The process of choosing a school to continue her softball career was a long one.

“It started out with me sending my information to schools and kind of narrowing it down,” Huppee said.

“I knew it didn’t matter where I wanted to go in the country, I knew I wanted to play softball at a school that had what I wanted to do in the future as well as the sport. And so, really, it was just sending out that information and getting responses back from coaches and then having interest in that school as well as them having interest in me.”

After two visits to Tennessee State, Huppee knew she had found her new team.

“I fell in love with the school, the coach, the family and the team,” she said.

“I visited twice, so I’ve had an unofficial and official, so I’ve toured, I’ve watched a game and watched a football game there, too. Just the atmosphere, I fell in love with it.”

In addition to the great team and atmosphere, the university also has opportunities for Huppee to prepare herself for her future once she plays her last out of softball.

“I know I want to go into business, so them having their own business school was another thing I liked about that and I kind of want to go into economics and finance and see where that takes me because I know that opens up so many doors,” she said.

While she held down first base last season, Huppee thinks she’ll see more action at third base once she gets to campus next fall.

“I think it’s mostly third, but (coach) knows I play both positions,” Huppee said.

“I like to hit, I like to crush the ball, but then again, I like to field. I like third because you’re close up, you’re in the know, you’re right next to the pitcher. You’re always moving, so that’s why I like that position.”

Being so far removed from her family and Liberty Hill doesn’t worry Huppee too much, since part of her childhood helped her learn to deal with being away from family.

“I’m not that worried because my family is originally from Rhode Island and so we moved to Texas about seven years ago and my dad’s actually worked overseas, so I know how it is to be away from family,” Huppee said.

“I think that will actually be good for me over the long run to be on my own, learn how to live life and have fun at the same time playing softball.”

Athleticism runs in the Huppee family, as Megan’s mother played softball, and ran cross country in college. Megan’s brother, Kyle is a junior on the varsity football team and starting center, and their younger sister, Emily, is in eighth grade and plays volleyball.

“I think watching me play softball was enough for her, so she did her own thing,” Huppee said with a laugh.

Her family is a huge reason she gets to continue her softball career, Huppee said.

“I really have to say thank you to anyone who had contact with me in any sport,” she said.

“I know basketball has helped me with quickness and keeping me in shape and all the coaches of course, Coach Hankins, Coach (Kristen) Brewer, Coach (Carlos) Garza. My parents, my mom and dad have put in so much work and time with me. Most of it’s on them, so I thank them so much.”

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