Going to a junior college is not a bad place to go if you’re looking to get noticed to play at the Division-I level.
Former Trigg County Lady Wildcat pitcher Hannah Colbert showed why as the John A Logan Lady Vol committed to continuing her softball career at Northern Kentucky University.
Colbert closed her senior season at Trigg County with a 1.50 ERA in 247 innings pitched.
She ultimately took the JUCO route at John A. Logan and it paid off with her decision to become a Norse starting in the 2022 spring season.
Colbert never visited NKU but said after talking with NKU head coach Kathryn Gleason and going through some online visits, she was set.
“With the NCAA and COVID and everything, I’ve never actually met coach Gleason in person and I never got to take a visit to NKU,” Colbert said. “She sent me two virtual visits and I’m not a very picky person so just from those videos, NKU seemed like everything I wanted in a school and it was in Kentucky so it matched perfectly.
“Finally, I asked coach Gleason if she wanted to FaceTime since we had never got to see each other and that day was when she offered me. It’s been definitely weird getting recruited during this crazy time.”
Going through the recruiting process for a second time, especially in a time that is so different from the first, she said was a tough experience.
“It was definitely weird to start the recruiting process all over again,” Colbert said. “I think I looked at some schools that I might not have looked at while I was in high school. I would say in around September what I really wanted to do. A lot of my teammates that decided they didn’t want to play softball anymore were starting to look at schools and starting to apply and I still had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. Come October, my coach at John A. was sending out videos to other schools and a couple of them nibbled at me but nothing too serious.
“At the beginning of October NKU called me and said they were really interested and were needing a pitcher for the 2021 class. She just asked me what I was looking for in a school and I said I really wanted to come back to Kentucky.”
Despite never meeting coach Gleason in person, Colbert was sold enough to wear the black and yellow next year based on her interactions with her.
“Me texting back and forth with her she just seemed really easy to talk to,” she said. “She was really interested in wanting to know about my family and what I wanted to do and what else I liked to do outside of softball. It seemed really easy to talk to her from the very beginning.”
Throughout her Trigg County career, Colbert was about as reliable as you could be in the circle. And while she could’ve gone the four-year route, she decided to take the junior college trek and said she doesn’t regret it one bit.
“It’s JUCO so a lot of people look at it like, ‘it’s not D-I so it’s not really anything to consider,’ but I’m definitely glad I picked this,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m about to go next year. Taking practice to the next level helped me realize that I could go D-I if I wanted to.
“Everything is so much quicker and all the little things are important. Just learning the difference really helped a lot.”
Now with her decision and the next step in the rearview mirror, Colbert is focused on improving to be able to help Northern Kentucky from the moment she steps foot on campus.
“Right now, I’m trying to get my velocity higher,” she said. “I’ve been using the Velocity Pro harness a lot just trying to get my speed up. For hitting, I’m just trying to work on my mechanics.”
She hopes other Wildcats and Lady Wildcats alike will see what she is doing and know that it’s possible for them to do it as well.
“I feel like it won’t really hit me until I get to NKU that I’m one of the first D-I athletes that have come through in a while,” she said. “Coming through Trigg County I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve seen when we’ve been really good and when we’ve been really bad. I feel like going to the next level will make the younger girls look and say, ‘hey, I can do it too.’ ”