The Wright decision: Carolyn Wright’s dream of playing at Lehigh began at age 14

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Senior Carolyn Wright poses at Leadership Park on April 24, 2017. After a three-year stint as the softball team’s starting catcher, Wright was moved to first base. (Ana Madrigal/B&W Staff)

Though choosing a college is a notoriously hard task for any high school student, it was easy for senior Carolyn Wright. She had known where she wanted to attend college since she was a 14-year-old high school freshman.

Growing up in San Diego, Wright had many in-state college choices. But when her dad mentioned a smaller private school in Pennsylvania, she was intrigued.

Around that time, Wright was traveling across the country to play in a tournament in New Jersey. She took advantage of her visit to the East Coast and started looking at colleges. Besides a school that allowed her to pursue softball, Wright didn’t quite know what she was looking for.

Then she visited Lehigh.

From the moment she stepped foot on campus, Wright was in love. Whether it was the beautiful UC Front Lawn, the castle-like buildings or the feeling of home, she knew she had found the place where she wanted to spend her collegiate years.

Meeting coach Fran Troyan solidified her decision. From their first interaction, Wright knew she had the technical skills, ideals and values the Lehigh softball program was looking for in players.

“At first glance, it was a beautiful campus,” Wright said, “but after looking into it, I realized there was more. I could play (Division I) softball and still focus on academics. I knew Lehigh would be a good fit for me.”

The only thing left for Wright to do was work as hard as she could — in school and on the field — to become a Mountain Hawk.

After putting in years of hard work to receive an acceptance letter to Lehigh, entering as a freshman starter was a sign that Wright’s efforts had paid off. She had finally achieved her goal and was determined to put in that same hard work to succeed as a Division I student athlete.

Attending college across the country, Wright expected to experience anxiety as a first-year college student. Luckily, she convinced her travel softball friend, senior outfielder Katie Schultz, to also look into Lehigh. The two left the West Coast, became Mountain Hawks and will graduate together on May 21.

“It’s nice going off to school with someone from home, but especially if it’s someone you like and are really good friends with,” Schultz said. “We’ve been friends for forever.”

During her first season on the team, Wright knew she would have to step up as Lehigh’s starting catcher.

Wright did not let her team down.

The Mountain Hawks concluded their 2015 regular season with an overall record of 40-9 and went on to win the Patriot League title. The team won the championships again last year and will have another chance at the league title this season.

Wright set the bar high for herself and her team, which culminated in her being named as a two-time first team All-Patriot League honoree and leading the Mountain Hawks during her last season.

Entering her senior year, however, there was one curveball she didn’t see coming.

Wright was moved from her three-year role as catcher over to first base, a position she hadn’t played since her travel softball years in high school.

“(Wright) has always put the interests of the team above her own,” Troyan said. “Even though she was trained to be a catcher, she was very open-minded to the move to first base. She not only willingly (made the change), but she has embraced it and made herself into an excellent defensive first baseman.”

Stepping up as a senior had a whole new meaning to Wright. She had to learn to navigate a new position while also leading by example.

Her dynamic on the diamond inevitably changed with her switch in positions, but as an upperclassman, Wright had to channel the same energy on first base as she had behind the plate.

“The catching position is one of the leaders on the field, and so when I moved to first base, I tried to keep in mind that I’m still needed as that vocal leader,” Wright said.

As her last season comes to a close, Wright looked back on her Lehigh softball career and pinpointed exactly what led to her success.

Wright portrayed her team-first mentality when she attributed her efforts toward her focus on being in the moment and doing whatever her teammates needed from her whenever they needed it.

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