Williamson signs with Utah State for softball

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Lady Panthers’ shortstop Joely Williamson signs to play softball at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. (Courtesy Photo)

Lady Panthers’ shortstop Joely Williamson signs to play softball at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. (Courtesy Photo)

By KEITH SPARKS

Lady Panther shortstop Joely Williamson has signed with Utah State University to play for the Aggies in Logan, Utah. Although she has no family in the area, Logan already seems to feel like home to her.

“Utah State is absolutely the perfect place for me,” Williamson said. “The campus is gorgeous. It’s part of multiple national parks in the area, and it’s surrounded by mountains, so it’s absolutely beautiful. The campus, and the whole town, is so friendly. It’s like a small town feel. Everyone knows each other. It’s big, but it feels small. That’s what I was looking for. The atmosphere, the people are so nice.”

Williamson met the Utah State coaching staff at a softball tournament in California the summer after her freshman year of high school. They expressed interest in her, and the interest mutual, according to Williamson.

“They were interested, but I just had to pursue it,” Williamson said. “They told my coach they were interested, and I went to their camp up in Utah a couple months after. The interest grew, and they watched me one more time in Arizona, and they gave me an offer, which was amazing.”

Williamson has no family or friends in Utah, but said she feels like her future teammates, and the incoming freshmen that will be moving out there with her, are already family.

“I’ve met my teammates that are coming out there with me, and they’re almost basically my sisters already,” Williamson said. “It’s amazing to know that I’m going to have a family up there. I’ve already met the team, and they’re so nice, too, the ones that are already there.”

The coaching staff at Utah State is relatively new to the program, having been hired on just over two years ago. Williamson explained that in the short time they’ve been there, their impact on the success of the team has already been noticeable.

“Their success rate is rising,” Williamson said. “Just in those two years, they’ve made a huge impact in the conference. They tied for second last season, which is amazing, because before that their numbers were low, their stats were low, so their progress and improvement with the coaches is amazing.”

Williamson had interest from some other schools, but as soon as Utah State approached her with a scholarship offer, she knew she’d be an Aggie. She’ll be moving to Utah in August of 2017 with the rest of the incoming freshmen, and is planning on majoring in English and minoring in Business. Williamson also has her eyes set on law school in the future, hoping to open her own criminal defense law firm at some point.

Williamson was quick to credit Liberty Hill Head Softball Coach Charice Hankins, understanding that without her this opportunity wouldn’t exist.

“She definitely helped me improve throughout the years,” Williamson said. “She gave me the opportunity to start younger, to see higher competition, and be on varsity and start when I was a freshman. That was definitely beneficial to see that kind of competition young.”

Although the college signing process can be exciting, Williamson is focusing first and foremost on a championship season with the Lady Panthers.

“District champs,” Williamson said. “Make our way to the state championship. It’s my last year, and we’ve been so close the years before, and it’s really a big deal to me to get there and win it all.”

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