Student Athlete of the Month: Craig a bright spot for Whittell softball
South Tahoe swimming star Alex Otomo was this month’s runner up for the female Tribune Student Athlete of the Month.
Olivia Craig is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to sports.
She plays soccer in the fall, basketball and skiing in the winter and swimming and softball in the spring and summer.
The Whittell freshman plays them all, but especially enjoys softball where she is a Swiss Army knife on the diamond.
She plays first base and also in the outfield for her club team. And for the first time this year, she added catcher to that list.
“Who knows, I’ll probably have to pitch next year too,” Craig said.
Craig shinned bright during a tough year for the Warriors. She was one of the team’s top players with the bat, the glove and arm and has been recognized as the Tribune’s Student-Athlete of the Month for April.
“Winning it makes me feel awesome, especially being a freshman,” Craig said. “I was really excited when I was nominated. At first I thought it was for the school newspaper. But I think I developed a lot as a player this season and I feel like my hard work paid off.”
Craig was born at Barton Memorial Hospital and lives in Zephyr Cove. She is finishing her 10th year in the Douglas County School District and is in her third year at George Whittell High School (seventh through 12th grade).
She has played soccer as long as she can remember and first picked up a bat and glove at about age 8.
This year suiting up for the Warriors, there was a need at catcher and not at first base. But that’s what happens at a smaller school that has just over 211 students with 74 enrolled in middle school grades: you fill needs. So she took the challenge and learned yet another position, and is still learning.
“I had never caught before, and Coach (Lindsey Oexle) and I, we worked a lot together,” Craig said. “I thought I improved throughout the year on the basics, adapting to different pitches and how to receive and frame them.”
“Olivia is a hardworking student-athlete that always has a great attitude and is eager to learn,” said Oexle, the Warriors head coach. “As a coach, it is great to teach someone who truly makes changes to improve. She does anything she can to help her teammates and coaches without hesitation.”
Craig at the plate hit well over .400 and was on base about 65 percent of the time.
While the Warriors won just one game this season, it wasn’t obvious by watching the team interact and the chanting and cheering while the team was batting.
“The cheering, the seniors took us out and made us learn all the cheers,” Craig laughed.
Her favorite memory from her first prep season was the camaraderie between her teammates and having fun no matter the result.
“We were losing badly one game and we all started having fun on the field,” Craig said. “That basically sums up our season.”
Craig started playing the violin last year and has dove into the musical instrument just like she did with softball. She said her dad has played all his life and she can see herself sticking with it. She also said it’s not likely we’ll see her playing soon in any concerts as she learns to play.
When it comes to future plans, she’s thinking about going into the medical field, but hasn’t given it too much thought. She’s just finishing her first year of high school and there’s still much ahead.
“I’m only a freshman,” she said.