Senior Cassidy Rice crossed home many times during her softball career. But leaving her small hometown of Du Quoin, Illinois, was one of the hardest decisions of her life.
“Coach Jamie Grodecki saw me play at a tournament in Tennessee and asked me to look into the school,” said the exercise science major, who traveled more than 600 miles to attend Georgia College. “I was 100 percent against even coming for a tour, but the second I set foot on campus, I knew this was where I was meant to be.”
During her four years, she made a new home for herself building a sense of family with the softball team, her friends and faculty mentors in the College of Health Sciences.
“This has been a great experience. I’ve studied hard, but I’ve also enjoyed every minute of college,” she said.
With graduation right around the corner, she admits she’s not ready to leave. Although the softball season and her undergraduate experience are winding down, she’s grateful for the education that helped her discover her career.
“At first I wanted to go into medical school, but when I realized I would either have to go that route or play softball, I chose softball,” she said. “Then I didn’t know what to do.”
Her passion for helping children with limb deficiencies and her volunteer work at a camp hosted by the NubAbility Athletics Foundation—a nonprofit organization dedicated to coaching kids with limb loss get off the bench and into the game of mainstreamed organized sports—led to an interest in prosthetics.
“So I decided to look into ways I could help kids like the ones I worked with at camp,” she said. “I’ve been accepted into Northwestern University’s prosthetic school, so I will begin that program after graduation and finish up April 2019.”
She gives credit for her success to professors who worked with her and encouraged her to keep up with both her coursework and her softball performance.
Rice has played in nearly 30 games this season, hitting .288 with a home run, 11 RBIs and four runs scored, seeing a considerable boost to her playing time this year after playing in just four games last year.
She has seen time at pitcher, first baseman and designated player this year, ranking seventh on the team in RBIs and first in strikeouts per seven innings. She hit her first career home run in the win over Brevard Feb. 25, adding the first triple of her career that day as well.
This small town girl calls Milledgeville “a big city,” and she encourages others to take the same leap of faith she did, if given the opportunity.
“I would tell them to take a chance and get away for a while. I had one week to make my decision on whether to come here or not,” she said. “The way I looked at it, I can always go home, but I may not always get the chance to go away and chase my dreams.”