Last go around for Dillard

Stephanie Dillard started at Blue Mountain College with hopes of becoming a successful runner on Heather Duley’s cross country team. With the addition of softball and baseball to the school’s athletic program this year, she now has the chance to play another sport she loved while in high school at East Union.
Dillard attended the tryouts for the Lady Toppers’ softball team and is now a member of the inaugural squad, which is currently in the middle of their season, playing their home games at the New Albany Sportsplex.
When I caught up with Dillard earlier this week, we talked about her adjusting not only to her new teammates but being a multi-sport athlete in college.
“They started the team, and I knew a lot of the girls playing, having competed with them in summer ball. They’re great girls, good, Christian people, so I knew I would enjoy it,” she said.
Watching her younger siblings, Cody and Heather, play at East Union also brought back that fire she had while in high school.
“Watching them brought back my love for the game. They love it and give their all every time they’re on the field,” she said.
“I talked to Coach Duley first, and she was fine with it, so I went and tried out and ended up getting on the team.”
Dillard led the Lady Toppers to their historic first win last month, blasting a solo home run to give BMC the 2-1 victory over Williams Baptist College. The only native Union Countian on the roster, Dillard is enjoying the ride this year with the Lady Toppers.
“I love it; I love being with the girls. Now I have my family and I have my cross country family and my softball family. They’re all great people. We have a good time out here,” she said.
The English Education major hopes to one day teach and coach, and admits the course work on top of playing multiple sports is daunting at times.
“It’s  a lot harder, because when you’re in high school, sports is everything,” she explained. “In college, there’s still that love for sports, but you have to think about your future.”
“In high school, you’re just working toward making it to college, more school, but after college, it’s your life; it’s the real world. You have to think about what job you’re going to have and all that stuff.”
Dillard is no stranger to juggling several activities at once, having played basketball, softball and running cross country with the Lady Urchins, and she is taking advantage of every opportunity she has left as an athlete at BMC.
“This is it, unless you play on a women’s league or something,” she said. “This is the last shot to leave your mark. I just want to take advantage of it while I can.”
Dillard and the Lady Toppers will next play at the Sportsplex on Friday, March 25, at 3 p.m. vs. Bethel.