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What It's Like To Transition From High School To D1 Softball

nazari zee jackson photo by brad laux.jpg
(Photo by Brad Laux)

The transition in sports from the high school to college level can be a thrilling, yet challenging time for many freshmen. As high school student-athletes, the amount of time commitment required is not nearly as much as when one becomes a collegiate student-athlete, especially at the Division I level. Once freshmen begin their college careers, there are a few important lessons they must often learn on the fly, such as being completely dedicated to their sport, balancing academics and athletics and getting used to a higher level of play.

Nazari "Zee" Jackson, a catcher and infielder from Georgia who was named an All-State selection from Mary Persons High School, just completed her freshman season at Division I Morehead State University.

Jackson spoke with Softball America about her transition from high school softball to the Division I level of college ball, her recruiting journey and more.

Read below for the full conversation. 

Softball America: What made you realize you wanted to continue playing softball after high school?

Zee Jackson: I realized that I had a God-given talent and my parents made plenty of sacrifices to get me here. I could not let them, myself or God down.

SA: Who were your main influences along your journey in youth softball?

ZJ: Destiny Middleton, who now plays softball for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, was my influence. She and her dad were big parts of my journey as far as giving me a blueprint (to play softball in college).

SA: What was your recruiting process like?

ZJ: Honestly, (it was) a little stressful. Not only was I young when I started playing, but COVID-19 hit, so I felt like I was under a lot of pressure in the recruiting process.

SA: How did your high school and travel softball experiences prepare you to play at the Division l level?

ZJ: Playing high school ball from a small town taught me how to be a teammate, and playing travel ball taught me how to deal with diversity while playing this sport.

SA: How was the transition from high school softball to college softball for you?

ZJ: It was hard because being in college, you deal with failure a lot more. (Because of) that, you must be mentally tough when trying to balance schoolwork and athletics. It can, at times, be physically draining.

SA: Why did you choose Morehead State University?

ZJ: Even though it was far from home, my parents and I felt comfortable (at Morehead State). I could be taken care of and introduced to many opportunities and experiences there.

SA: What advice would you give to a high school softball player looking to be recruited to play in college?

ZJ: It is about more than just being on the field. Go somewhere that if softball was taken away from you, you would still be mentally okay and taken care of.

kaytlyn cripps photo by brad laux.jpg

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

Kaytlyn Cripps transferred from Division 2 Colorado Mesa to Division 1 Morehead State.

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