Messenger file photo by Gary Wells
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Negative reinforcement served as a motivating factor in Hylan Higdon’s recent academic and athletic achievement.
“So many people told me that I was never going to make it, but I never let that stuff knock me down,” said the Glencoe High School senior.
Higdon proved her naysayers wrong when she signed a softball scholarship with Judson College last Tuesday (Dec. 2).
Higdon, who plans on studying nursing and psychology, said it was love at first sight when she visited the Judson campus in Marion, about a two-hour drive from Glencoe.
“Everybody was so nice and welcoming, and it just felt like home. I tried out and [head softball] coach [Tom] Hannah said he wanted me on the team. He is such a great coach, and know it’s going to be a great experience.”
In 167 and two-third innings last season, Higdon posted a 2.12 earned run average while striking out 193. At the plate, she batted .250 with 15 RBI.
Higson pointed to GHS head softball coach Tommy Stanley as a big influence in her success.
“He’s never not believed in me, and he’s always there to boost my confidence. Whenever I don’t think that I can do it, he always makes sure that I can.”
Judson went 16-21 this past season while competing in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.
“All softball teams need good pitching, and when we saw [Higdon] pitch, we immediately liked her,” said Hannah. “As we got to know her, we saw that she is a quality kid, which is as important as being a quality pitcher. We’re a small, faith-based school, and we look for good quality young women who can compete. Hylan has great academics, she’s a tremendous pitcher and she’s a great girl, so she’s a perfect fit. We’re going to be very young (next season), so we expect Hylan to be in our starting [pitching] rotation from the very beginning.”
Stanley said Higdon has greatly contributed to the GHS softball program as both a player and a person.
“I would take a classroom full or a team full of Hylans. She the typical team player who does what she’s supposed to do. The improvement from her sophomore to her junior year was really big, and you could see it visually. And it wasn’t just her pitching; she got it done at the plate. If she came up and we needed a bunt, she’ll lay it down. Whatever the team needed for a win, she was willing to do it. That really helped to set an example for our younger players.”
Higdon and her teammates have specific goals in place for the 2019 season.
“We really want to get futher than regionals this year; we’re looking for [the] state [tournament].”
Higdon threw in a guarantee for good measure.
“We’re going to be area champions.”