Sweet Success For Simpson

May 7, 2002

By Theresa Ripp -

The best advice Becky Simpson has ever received is that, 'If it weren't hard, everyone would be doing it.' The 'it' she is talking about is softball.

'I've always believed that anything that is worthwhile takes hard work and dedication,' Simpson says.

Simpson, an outfielder and the lone senior on the 2002 University of Washington softball team, is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship after her hard work and dedication she displayed during her freshman year.

'I wasn't recruited by Washington, but I wanted to stay close to home and compete for a national championship,' Simpson said. 'So I walked on and earned a scholarship. It's an experience that has all been worth it.'

Simpson, born in Hull, England (four hours north of London), grew up in Olympia, Wash., area since the age of seven. She started playing softball for her elementary school soon after her family moved to the United States.

A few years later, Simpson took the unusual path of not playing softball for her high school team in Tumwater, Wash. Instead, she competed in track as a member of the school's 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams, which claimed state titles her senior year.

'The track and softball seasons were always at the same time,' Simpson said. 'The relay teams were better and more competitive, and I felt that I had a chance to help them win.'

Softball, however, was never far from Simpson's mind. She played summer ball for the Washington Heat under coach Wayne Hardy, helping them to a pair of top-20 finishes at the ASA and NSA national championships in 1997 and 1998.

'My coaches, at Washington and for the Heat, have taught me more about the game than I ever knew that there was to know,' Simpson said. 'They have always had faith in me and pushed to be the player I am today.'

That player has led the team to a 41-16 record and a top 10 national ranking entering this weekend. So far in 2002, Simpson boasts a .316 batting average, a school-record six triples and 18 stolen bases. She also is just one of three Huskies to play and start in all 57 games after moving from right to left field for her senior campaign.

'I feel a little more pressure being the only senior on the team this year,' Simpson says. 'But even last year, we were a really young team, and everyone is a leader in some way.' Off the field, Simpson considers the family atmosphere of Washington athletics to be the best part about playing softball.

'As a freshman on a huge campus, it was really nice to have others willing to show me the ropes,' Simpson said. 'Most students don't have that kind of guidance. All of us on the team are friends, who are doing something we love to do.'

Simpson's ultimate goal for her final few weeks as a Husky is to continue the program's winning tradition that has been engrained in her mind from the beginning of her freshman year.

'We want to keep this tradition alive and not let the alumnae down,' Simpson said. 'We want to be on the same page with each other for each game, and by doing so, we will have the success we have all worked so hard for.'

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