Ashburn, Va. — Briar Woods High School senior Caroline Bird has made the decision to continue her softball career at the University of Mary Washington starting in the 2018-2019 academic year.
“I chose Mary Washington not only for the softball program but also for the fun-filled community that surrounds the campus,” the 5-foot-10 Bird said. “At Mary Washington, I will be a versatile player for their team and also a player who will never stop loving the game. Ever since I committed to Mary Washington, I feel like I need to be my best at all times and slacking off is never an option.”
The Mary Washington softball program – based out of Fredericksburg, Virginia – is led by head coach Dee Conway and assisted by both Keith Tasaka and Sadie Stuart. A resourceful utility player, Bird will be joining the Eagles softball team at her primary position: outfielder.
“I started playing softball in sixth grade after playing baseball for seven years,” Bird said. “While playing baseball, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I felt like an outcast until I made the switch to softball, which was one of the best decisions of my life.”
Bird states that her mom is the one who truly persuaded her to switch from baseball to softball. Because of that and so much more, she is her role model.
“She’s the one who taught me to play with the best sportsmanship, which has not only made me a better softball player but also a respectable person,” Bird said. “My role model has been my mom because of what’s she’s done to help me get to this point.”
The future Eagle would also like to recognize one of her childhood coaches.
“The coach that has most influenced me as a player was actually one of my baseball coaches from when I was younger, Coach Alba.” Bird said. “He was the one who told me to keep playing the sport no matter what happens, even if I were to be bullied for being the only girl on the team or if I was in a slump. He taught me everything I needed to know in order to succeed as a baseball player and helped make my move to softball easy.”
Bird plays travel softball with the Ashburn Shooting Stars 18U team – a team with eight softball players committed to play in college, including Bird. Shooting Stars assistant coach Dave Carver notes Bird’s athleticism is why she is so great to coach.
“I have only coached Caroline for a short time, but we have been so impressed with her work ethic. She comes to practice and gives 100% every day,” Carver said. “We have asked her to play several positions, and she has exceeded our expectations each time. Mary Washington is getting a great player in Caroline.”
Through her eight years of softball, the future Eagle has made many strides, including receiving multiple first- and second-place trophies in multiple tournaments. Out of all of her accomplishments, what mattered most to Bird was receiving The Coach’s Award last year from Briar Woods softball head coach, Chris Starke.
In 2017, Starke, Bird and the rest of the Lady Falcons finished 12-10, including a 4-4 mark in Conference 14, before falling to Broad Run High School in the Conference 14 third-place game.
“Although, we may not be the team that comes out on the top in the district, I look at the effort put into each game, and that’s what matters,” Bird said. “My goal for my last season of high school softball is just to have fun.”