By Paige Ordway -- Eagle Staff Writer
For most students at Franklin County, researching, touring colleges, and searching for scholarships is part of the senior year experience, but for one particular student, all that has already fallen into place in junior year.
Becca Merrick began playing softball at the age of 4 and has been playing travel softball since 7. After 13 years of softball, Merrick announced that the next chapter of her softball career will be at Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina.
“App State was one of the first bigger D1 schools to show interest in me and throughout the years, the interest grew. I had a lot of colleges that came and went but App was always there …The program has a close-knit family feel and the town of Boone is not only breathtaking but also a home away from home, “ enthused Merrick.
According to Merrick, App State was not the only college to show interest. In fact, she received looks from a number of different schools, including UVA, UNCW, Virginia Tech, Radford, and many others from different divisions.
Every athlete attempting to get recruited knows the challenges of the entire process. While Merrick is not a stranger to those challenges, she has been able to overcome them in her own way.
"I played 3 years worth of softball and nearly every game I faced [the] pressure of college coaches watching behind the fences. Every play, remark, and change in body language was observed and judged. It felt as though you were always under a spotlight, whether you were actually playing or not … Through all the challenges, I never forgot how much this game means to me, the love I have for it, and how different my life would be without it. And for those reasons, I was able to push through and overcome all the challenges I came across,” Merrick explained.
Outside of the sport, Merrick found motivation in other activities.
“I am part of FCA at Franklin County High School. FCA stands for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It is a group of high school students (not only athletes) that are given the opportunity to meet on Wednesday mornings and begin the day with a word from Scripture and time with other Christians.”
Merrick believes that her participation in FCA is her way of giving back. “I first heard of the organization through one of my teammates and was encouraged to attend with her the next time they met. My biggest goal throughout sports is to give all the glory back to God considering He is the reason I not only have any athletic ability but also the reason I have breath in my lungs. Being around other athletes that have the same mindset while playing is what drew my interest into joining the club.”
Throughout life, Merrick has looked up to her brother, Brayden, for support and has taken all she knows from him as a mentor and big brother.
“My biggest role model happens to be my best friend: my brother. My brother has always been one of my favorite people and I’ve never known life without him. We have a very close relationship that I cherish and am so thankful for …. Through it all, he always fixed his eyes back to God. I have been able to watch him go before me and experience all types of challenges in life. I look up to him more than anyone.”
Merrick has been following in Brayden's footsteps and has continued to let him be her guide through life and softball. “He is also an athlete that played D1 baseball at Virginia Tech before transferring to Bluefield State University to finish his college career. I have been able to watch him succeed, fail, and pick himself back up, and succeed again,” Merrick shared.
All of this and more, Merrick will take with her to App State, but only after one more year of high school. Next year she plans to continue to play softball and earn her real estate license, then she heads off to study business at App State in order to pursue a career in the real estate industry. FCHS can't wait to see where this former Eagle will finally land.