Aubbie Collake, a three-sport athlete at Ooltewah High School, has decided to stay close to home and play softball as a preferred walk-on at UT-Chattanooga.
Playing first base, Collake has helped the Lady Owls’ softball team claim two straight District 5-3A and Region 3-3A tournament championships and a third-place finish in the 2015 Class 3A state tournament, losing to Dickson County 6-5.
In 2015 and 2016, the Lady Owls went 81-16 overall and 21-3 in regular-season district play. Coach Jon Massey’s club is expected to be in the title hunt again this coming spring, returning most of the squad from 2016.
As a junior, Collake batted .387, collected 10 doubles and five home runs and 40 RBIs.
Collake is finishing up her senior basketball season and also played volleyball.
“We have most of our (softball) team coming back and a freshman outfielder (Makayla Strickland) coming in that’s going to be a really good player for us,” Collake said. “Our whole infield will be back. I think if we put it all together we can go all the way this year.”
Collake said she also considered Alabama State, Carson-Newman, Sewanee and Cleveland State.
“I had a full-ride offer at Alabama State and I thought I wanted to go away for college,” she said. “I loved the coach down there, but my grandfather got sick and I changed my mind. My family has been able to come to all my games and they wouldn’t be able to do that if I had gone to Alabama State.
“UTC became an option about a month ago, I visited the campus two weeks ago weeks ago and I knew that’s where I wanted to be. It was a really hard decision and it has been stressful trying to figure out where I’d go to college, but I’m super-happy it worked out this way.
“I don’t feel the stress and I want to have fun in my senior year.”
While Collake will not be provided with athletic money from the Lady Mocs, she will receive “a great” academic financial package.
(Contact Larry Fleming at email@example.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)