The Chesapeake alumnus and 2013 Southeastern Conference softball player of the year from Tennessee has some rare time at home in Pasadena wedged between her third trip to the Women’s College World Series and her commitment to USA Softball.
Last week Gibson officially earned one of 18 coveted spots on the nation’s top amateur softball team for the third year in a row.
She said before shipping out to Oklahoma City on July 5 for World Cup of Softball VIII, her to-do list in her “favorite state ever” includes a beach day in Ocean City and at least one afternoon zipping on top of the water in tow behind a boat.
“I’m really excited to enjoy the summer a little bit,” Gibson said.
She earned the reprieve.
The high school pitcher started 242 games at second base in four years at Tennessee. She made the SEC all-Defensive team in her senior and sophomore seasons and is a three-time first-team NFCA all-American.
In 2013 Gibson hit .401 with 68 RBI and 19 home runs, a single-season Vols record. She scored both runs in a 2-1 WCWS win over Texas and blasted a homer in the first inning against NCAA strikeout leader Blaire Luna.
After advancing to the WCWS finals against Oklahoma, Gibson exhausted her NCAA eligibility.
Because she changed her major from Animal Science to Criminal Justice as a junior, she’s looking forward to a final school year in Knoxville, Tenn., as a more typical student.
“I absolutely loved every second of playing,” Gibson said. “Now with this one year I get to focus more on being a kid.”
— Lauren Gibson (@LGibby27) June 19, 2013
The 21-year old is free from collegiate softball obligations, but will still join Team USA for international competitions in Oklahoma, Canada and Puerto Rico.
She brought home gold medals in each of the last two World Cups, leading the team with a .500 batting average last year, and added more gold at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
No matter where the game takes her, Gibson is just a click away from home.
She said her Facebook and Twitter accounts fill up with proud proclamations from fans in Maryland, including girls from the Maryland Magic club team she visited at practice last year.
Gibson said she will seek a master’s degree and a graduate assistant job to position herself for a life in coaching after completing her final year at Tennessee.
Embodying an example for Maryland’s young athletes is of prime importance.
“I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve gotten out of [my career], from the little girls that write and say you’re making me feel like my dream can come true and I can go to a Division I school,” she said.
“That kind of stuff means the most to me, that I’m helping little girls believe in their dreams.”