05/08/10 — McCollum headed to WTCC

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McCollum headed to WTCC

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 8, 2010 11:44 PM

Her brunette locks flowing gently in the breeze, Sarah McCollum grabbed the pen and smiled as she signed the piece of paper.

Cameras flashed.

McCollum sighed.

It's official.

A late bloomer, McCollum inked a national letter-of-intent to play softball at Wake Technical Community College. The Wayne Christian senior considered Methodist University, Pitt CC, Barton and Mount Olive before deciding on the newly-established WTCC program.

The Eagles just completed their club season (first year) as a Division I junior college program in Region X.

"I like the idea of a new program starting and the opportunities (it presents)," said McCollum, who started playing softball at 12 years old. "I like the idea of helping a program like that. I'm excited about the new group of girls and the competition. I'm very competitive, don't like losing or striking out."

McCollum hasn't struck out much at Wayne Christian.

A transfer from Spring Creek, the senior first baseman/catcher has blossomed into one of the area's top players, and more importantly, a leader on the field.

"Even as a freshman, I knew right from the start that she'd probably reach the collegiate level," said Wayne Christian head coach Roger Longwell. "I'm not necessarily surprised by her choice. Sarah is the type of player who would like to go into a new program and help it build, get the foundation started."

She's helped construct a dynasty at Wayne Christian.

McCollum participated on the Eagles' teams which won independent 1-A state championships in 2007 and 2008. Wayne Christian is expected to contend for a third crown later this month.

The Eagles have posted 50-plus wins during her prep career and reached the final four of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs.

Who would have thought it?

McCollum nearly panicked the first time she stepped onto a softball diamond.

"I started playing right field and I couldn't catch the ball," she laughed. "Now I'm playing first base and secondary catcher (here). I used to be terrified of the ball (at the plate), but now it doesn't bother me in the slightest."

Hitting is undoubtedly McCollum's best asset.

Peace College coach Charlie Dobbins, the father of WTCC coach Niki Dobbins, saw McCollum play during travel ball season. And McCollum is convinced those extra weekends of playing with the Hurricanes 18-Under team, and seeing strong competition helped her get notice.

"Travel ball has helped my game improve dramatically," said McCollum, who likes to play the piano to relax. "You see different pitchers and learn something new every time you go out there. Travel ball also helps you with your skills.

"Everything is so much fun ... the competitive edge. Every game is different and nothing is the same."

McCollum will work on her general education courses at WTCC and transfer to a four-year program. She plans to continue her softball career, and pursue an education major with a minor in music.