Katelynn Simpson was a standout athlete at Dawson County, starring in both softball and basketball. A class of 2016 graduate for the Lady Tigers, Simpson penned a letter to attend Andrew College in Cuthbert, Georgia, an NJCAA Division-I program.
In an unexpected turn of events, Simpson has announced that she will be not only transferring following her 2018 sophomore season to Brenau University, an NAIA member, but in a completely different sport.
And it’s not basketball, either. Simpson will be heading to play lacrosse for the Golden Tigers in Gainesville, who are just finishing their inaugural season (1-14, including going 1-10 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference). While the sport she’s moving to is a bit of a surprise, the fact that she’s playing another sport in general is not such a shock.
“I grew up playing as many sports as possible and challenging myself to always improve,” says Simpson.
It’s not as if the catcher/infielder wasn’t producing at a high level on the diamond. Here are her career stats at Andrew College, which went 19-28 overall in 2018 and went 21-39 in 2017.
2017: .305 AVG, 4 HR, 29 RBI, 22 R, 2 SB, 7 2B, 3 3B, 12 BB
2018: .323 AVG, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 20 R, 5 SB, 7 2B, 1 3B, 2 BB
It’s not every day you see a collegiate player with a .300-plus career average, seven homers and 50 RBI call it quits from a sport midway through their eligibility. For Simpson, she felt that she had achieved what she set out to do.
“I’m grateful to say that I achieved my dreams of playing softball at a collegiate level, so when the opportunity of possibly playing lacrosse came knocking at my door, I couldn’t resist saying yes,” says Simpson on why the change of heart. “There aren’t many people who get that kind of opportunity and I’ve definitely been blessed.”
A NEW CHALLENGE
While some athletes make this type of decision perhaps after just playing a sport so long that it begins to lose its luster, that’s not the case for Simpson, who points to wanting a new challenge.
“I’ve had my ups and downs with softball, but I will always love this sport,” she says. “I’ve been playing it since I was nine, and it’s been hard for me to say goodbye to a sport I’ve known for so long. However, I’m excited to see what kind of challenges I can overcome while playing lacrosse.”
While it was a possibility to play softball at Brenau, that’s not what Simpson has in mind.
“I thought about [playing softball at Brenau also] several times, but I want to focus on learning lacrosse and giving it my 110%,” claims Simpson.
This begs the question, when did Simpson have the time to even pick up another sport?
“Since I’m currently in the middle of the softball season, I want to wait for it to end before I start focusing on the transition to lacrosse,” Simpson says. “As soon as softball ends, I will begin training and practicing. Coach [Emily Wetmore De Jiacomo] (Brenau’s lacrosse coach) has been extremely patient and helpful when it comes to helping me learn lacrosse. Throughout this summer, I will be working with her so I can be prepared for the next season.”
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
How did this come about for Simpson?
“Dawsonville is a small town and [De Jiacomo] met my mom at Moe’s,” says Simpson. “Long story short, she had heard about my high school and college career and contacted me soon after. [Brenau] plans to place me at midfield. The plan is to take pieces of each sport I’ve played and put it into one once I hit the field.”
That could be a deadly combination for Simpson, who clearly has been gifted athletically, and has dreams of becoming a physical therapist.