PORT ARTHUR, Texas — There's not much sparkle or glamour in junior college athletics compared to division one program. However one thing you will find is hard work.
"There's nothing different here," Lamar State College-Port Arthur softball's Hannah Murchinson said. "We still wake up every morning, go to weights, hit, run, condition, and work really hard for what we're doing. It shouldn't matter what level that you're at. You should just love what you're doing and continue doing it."
Hannah Murchison is a freshman on LSCPA's softball team, so her junior college experience has just begun, but she is already expressing gratitude toward the program.
"I just love that I've been able to stay where I'm comfortable and be around all my family and get to still do the thing I love most," Murchinson said.
For Infielder Savannah Trahan, she says Seahawk softball calmed her nerves about college athletics.
"I was telling my parents, like, I don't know how I'm gonna do it," Trahan said. "College kind of scares me."
"College softball, it made me love the game even more, like when I got here," Trahan said. "I mean, I love softball my whole life, but once I got here, I never knew I could love it the way I love it now.
That comfort and confidence in the sport is why Lamar softball coach Amy Hooks says a JUCO experience can be valuable on a division one roster.
"They have a different mindset," Coach Hooks said. "Maybe they weren't recruited right out of high school division one, or maybe they were overlooked so they get to play with a little bit of chip on their shoulder for one or two years when they go to the junior college level. There's some great coaches out there that help develop them, help them with time management, help them with the transition into just college academics in general. Then when they get here, there's this confidence.
A confidence that is seen in former Seahawk and now Lamar Cardinal, Cameron Niedenthal.
"If I would have went straight from being a senior straight out of high school to a division one, I would not have been ready," Niedenthal said. "But, JUCO definitely prepared me and I don't think there should be any sort of stereotype or stigmatism about somebody who starts out of JUCO because there's a small percentage of athletes that make it to play college sports so there's no bad thing about starting out at JUCO."