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What It's Like To Transfer From The D2 To D1 Level

kaytlyn cripps photo by brad laux.jpg
(Photo by Brad Laux)

Kaytlyn Cripps, a Price, Utah native and redshirt senior for Morehead State University, made a crucial decision over one year ago to jump from the Division 2 level of college softball to the Division 1 stage. Even though she was far from home at Morehead State in Kentucky, Cripps was determined to give it a chance and make the leap to a different division of college athletics.

After playing for Colorado Mesa University at the Division 2 level of college softball, Cripps entered the transfer portal in search of a school that would offer her the Division 1 experience.

Cripps spoke with Softball America about what it was like to transfer divisions, her recruiting process and more.

Read the full interview below.

Softball America: What is your favorite part about being a college athlete?

Kaytlyn Cripps: I love the relationships that I’ve built in this entire process. I can now say that I have friends all across the country. I love the game and I love playing alongside girls that share that passion with me. Each day, I get to wake up and say that I am a Division 1 athlete, and I’m so blessed to be here at Morehead State.

SA: What was it like to play for two different divisions?

KC: It was honestly fun. Because I was so close to home at my previous school, I got to play alongside athletes that I’ve competed against my entire career. With that being said, Morehead was so exciting because I didn’t really know what to expect. I hadn’t played with, or against, any of the girls (on my team and other teams) when coming here. You create somewhat of a reputation when you know everyone you’re playing with, so I loved being able to come out here and have to prove myself to an entirely new group of athletes.

SA: If any, what adjustments did you have to make after transferring?

KC: The biggest adjustment for me was being so far from home. I’d been lucky enough to only be a few hours away from my friends and old teammates before, and now I’m almost 2,000 miles from them. I was also a late transfer, so I basically hit the ground running. It made the transition a lot easier, surprisingly, because I had no choice but to dive right in. The coaches here at Morehead helped me so, so much and made sure I was completely caught up within the first week of being here. So, yes, it’s quite the process, but I was lucky to have found my place here.

SA: What are some similarities and/or differences between the Division 2 level and Division 1 level of college softball?

KC: The hardest thing for me to accept about going to a Division 2 school was the fact that we could not attend (Division 1) Regionals or the World Series that every softball player dreams of playing in. For me, I feel like that is the biggest difference. I was lucky enough to play in a highly-competitive conference while attending that school, so I feel like the competition was comparable to the teams that we’re playing now. Away from athletics, I did have much larger class sizes and I loved coming to Morehead and getting to have the personal relationships with my teachers that I do.

SA: What was the recruiting process like in the transfer portal compared to high school recruiting?

KC: The recruiting process was very similar to how it was when I was in high school. I was sending out tons and tons of emails every day, while also attending as many showcases and camps as I could. I did get to meet a bunch of other athletes in the portal, though, and got to hear (about) some of their amazing experiences at previous schools.

SA: What advice would you give to a college softball player looking to transfer?

KC: Trust your gut. It was a very scary decision, but I fully believe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I left a great program and was lucky enough to transfer into another amazing program. Another big thing is (having good) communication with your coaches. I was able to sit down with my previous coaches and have a great discussion about entering the portal, and they also made sure I was going through the process correctly.

nazari zee jackson photo by brad laux.jpg

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