When junior Carolyn Wright and sophomore Ashley Quidolit Rabago began playing softball together, they were only 10 years old and members of the same all-star team.
Now playing at Lehigh, Wright and Quidolit Rabago have been teammates for over 10 years. The two played their high school careers together at Bonita Vista High School in Bonita, California.
Quidolit Rabago has Wright to thank in part for her career at Lehigh.
“(Wright and I) were actually playing at the same tournament, and she sent the coach over to my game,” Quidolit Rabago said. “From there, I got to form a relationship with him, so she definitely helped impact my decision.”
Wright, who was named first team All-Patriot League in 2016, said although the dynamic of their friendship has changed, having Quidolit Rabago here was exciting for her even before coming to Lehigh.
“When I found out she was coming, I hadn’t come to Lehigh yet, so I didn’t have my own group of friends here yet either,” Wright said. “It was really comforting knowing that I would have her even though I would be here a year without her.”
Quidolit Rabago agreed their friendship has been impacted since coming to Lehigh.
“I feel like I see her less (than in high school). She’s on the other side of the field, so I never see her,” Quidolit Rabago said.
Wright also said the two talk less now than in high school. She said their friendship started in high school when the two talked to each other in the outfield and at batting practice, but the difference in practices at Lehigh prevents them from doing that.
Softball coach Fran Troyan said it’s not uncommon for players from California to want to play at schools on the east coast.
“There are more opportunities at a more high-end academic school on the east coast than there are out in California,” Troyan said. “So for them to go across the country was a natural fit for them.”
Wright and Quidolit Rabago’s friendship goes beyond just the softball field. Wright said in preparation for Quidolit Rabago to join her at Lehigh, she helped her with the transition to college life.
“Knowing that she was coming, I kept a little list in my head of little things to let her know about ahead of time,” Wright said. “Over the summer, I took her to Bed Bath & Beyond and told her what she really needs to get and what she doesn’t need to waste her money on.”
Wright said her excitement for Quidolit Rabago to come to Lehigh began the summer before her sophomore year, when Quidolit Rabago was an incoming freshman.
Both Wright and Quidolit Rabago agreed knowing they would have someone they knew made their transition to Lehigh easier. Wright said it was exciting to go to Lehigh knowing someone from home would be there.
Quidolit Rabago agreed, saying she had a stronger grasp on what Lehigh was going to be like because of Wright, making her transition a lot less stressful.
“I feel like at the beginning it was kind of nice, but once we got into the swing of things it didn’t really make a big difference because our whole team is really good friends,” Quidolit Rabago said.
Troyan said this connection is an important part of any team dynamic, and it’s always a good situation when people are friends coming into the team.
As for his knowledge of the friendship between Wright and Quidolit Rabago, Troyan said he was originally unaware the two girls played for the same high school team.
‘We recruit players out of the travel summer teams that they play for, and (Quidolit Rabago) and (Wright) played on different teams,” Troyan said. “I didn’t even know that they were from the same high school until well into the recruiting process.”