Ashley Shelton has never been the first person on her team to speak up. In fact she typically keeps to herself, both on the softball field and at school.
But in the wake of five key departures to Prairie’s softball team, the four-year varsity player knew she had to make a change. And that change would require her to test the boundaries of her comfort zone.
First, Shelton, a second team all-league selection as a junior, moved over to center field to fill the absence of Kylee Snider, who graduated.
Perhaps more importantly: she was determined to become the Falcons’ vocal leader.
That presented an opportunity Shelton says is empowering.
“I’m not really looked at as a big powerful person,” Shelton said. “So it’s like, OK, I’m controlling this team right now. It’s a lot. It’s empowering. I feel good because I want to be someone that they look up to and I want them to remember me for being a good leader.”
Her coach concurred.
“This year she’s taken it in her head that if we want to be successful, this is what it’s going to take,” Prairie head coach Mariah Dawson said.