Casey Wilcox would rather talk about her teammates than herself.
That’s just the type of girl she is.
But when someone starts the season hitting at a .460 clip in 50 at-bats, that can not go unrecognized.
That’s exactly what Wilcox has done.
She has cemented herself as the starting shortstop job as a sophomore and has not looked back.
However, it was not without some learning and growing pains.
“It’s always when there’s an underclassmen as a shortstop,” said Clarion first-year head coach Cheryl Peterson.
“There can be bumps in the roads, but she’s settled in nicely as the anchor of our defense.”
Last year, as a freshman, Wilcox had a .190 batting average in 79 at-bats with eight runs batted in with 19 strikeouts, three walks and in the field she committed 13 errors.
“I had those freshman nerves where I felt like a little fish in a big pond… when I was batting, I was in the mid-set of ‘I just don’t want to strike out. Let me just put the ball in play,” Wilcox said.
Fast-forward to the 2015 season, and it’s a whole new player.
Wilcox has knocked in 10 runs already this year to go with her two home runs and the .460 batting average.
“This year I’m thinking ,‘there’s two outs, there’s runners on second and third, it’s my job to get those girls in.’ That’s my responsibility; that’s my role… I’ve transitioned from more of a selfish person of ‘how am I doing personally”to ‘what actions can I do to help the team succeed.”
In eight of Clarion’s 16 games this season, Wilcox has recorded nine multi-hit games.
Wilcox has had two hits in eight of the last nine games with her best coming versus Elizabeth City State on March 9.
In that game, which marked the first of two Clarion victories on the season, she went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
Wilcox will be the first to push the spotlight away from herself and onto others when things are going well and the first to put blame on herself when things are going poorly.
“I don’t feel the pressure now that I did in high school. I’m playing with some of the best girls I’ve ever played with, and now I’m realizing that the responsibility of the team [success] falls to all of us.”
Moreover, when asked if she considers herself a leader on this team, she was quick to point toward her upperclassmen.
“I need to be a leader when we have our five seniors…we didn’t have a coach for five months and they did a fantastic job of keeping the team together; to be able to keep 25 girls from killing each other for five months is impressive.”
However, there has been one person who has challenged Wilcox to be a leader this year.
“Coach Peterson saw more in me than I saw in myself and gave me a different perspective than I’ve had in the past. She told me that I’m a leader on the field in my actions and not just in my words, and that’s really stuck with me.”
Wilcox is tremendously competitive on the field, but off it, she’s a self-proclaimed jokester but she’s thankful for where she is.
“Off the field, I’m a huge goofball. Whenever there’s music on, I’m dancing, But on the field, I care way too much, and I wear my heart on my sleeve… but God has blessed me constantly with my ability and these girls and I will be forever grateful for that.”
Clarion hopes to play its first home games of the season on Friday versus Seton Hill, weather permitting.