Dickson's Jones, Winchester sign to play college softball
Jaci Jones and Lacie Winchester may have only played one year together on the Dickson High School softball team, but that doesn’t mean they’re strangers. The two have a close bond that started before high school and they put that friendship on display Wednesday by signing their letters of intent together.
“Jaci and I have been friends for a while and just having her here to be able to share the experience with me meant the world,” Winchester said. “And I know it meant the world to her, too.”
Winchester will continue her softball career at Southern Nazarene University, while Jones will stay closer to home at Murray State.
“I had this dream when I was little,” Jones said. “You always say, ‘I want to be a softball player.’ Now my hard work has paid off and my family’s dedication to this is amazing. It’s just a relief to finally say I did this. It’s amazing.”
Winchester had similar thoughts and she’ll join Lone Grove senior Noa Dodson at SNU after the two played together outside of high school.
“There were definitely a lot of trips to the city for tournament ball,” Winchester said. “It was insane, but having that support group around me made it a whole lot easier. Granted it was a whole lot of work, but it paid off in the end. I couldn’t be happier.”
And the happiness didn’t stop with Winchester and Jones, as Dickson head coach Kristin Williams was happy to be part of the celebration.
“It’s very exciting and just an emotional day,” Williams said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them. They put in a lot of work and time to get where they’re at, and it’s starting to pay off.”
And as is the case for most athletes, there were a number of others behind the scenes helping them reach their goals.
“Coach Williams has kind of pushed me and really got me ready,” Winchester said. “And my aunt from Marietta has been a complete rock for me. They’ve really pushed me. I’m very excited for (college softball).”
Meanwhile, it was the Lady Comets’ support that meant a lot to Jones as she only played one year at Dickson.
“I walked in and they accepted me,” Jones said of her teammates. “I came in and showed them I shared the same passion with them. I have heart and drive, and I wanted to be successful with them. It was amazing how quickly they took to me and treated me like one of their own.”
Jones will have to do the same next year at Murray State and she’ll face the same experience in a couple of years when she takes the leap to a new school.
“I thought this would be a good place to start out and get my feet underneath me,” Jones said. “I’ll be away (from home), but not too far away. I went on the visit and it kind of sealed the deal.”
Winchester’s situation was similar as she had a couple of other offers, but she knew SNU was home as soon as she stepped foot on campus.
The two will soon be back at their respective schools and Williams plans on making the trek north to see them compete at the next level.
“Coaching them was fun, but I really want to see them succeed at the next level,” she said. “And I know they will.”