SAN ANTONIO, TX – MARCH 6, 2020: The University of North Texas Mean Green defeat the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners 6-2 at Roadrunner Field (Photo by Jeff Huehn, UTSA Athletics). UTSA softball senior Celeste Loughman still has a pair of envelopes she’s yet to open — one from St. Mary’s, and the other from South Texas College of Law Houston.

A few months ago, those decision letters would’ve been the key to Loughman’s next chapter, telling her whether she’d been admitted to law school. Now, she’d almost rather not know.

In the wake of the NCAA canceling the spring athletics season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, seniors were given the option to return for an extra year of eligibility, with the possibility of reduced financial aid.

As student-athletes across the country grapple with the decision, Loughman has made her choice: she’ll be back with UTSA softball in spring 2021.

She hopes to pick up where she left off after posting career-best numbers for the strongest Roadrunners team she’s been a part of. At the same time, she plans to pursue a one-year MBA program, boosting her credentials for the next round of law school applications.

This year’s decision letters may as well remain sealed.

“I really didn’t want the excitement of me getting into law school to affect my decision to come back and play, because the sport has given me so much,” Loughman said. “I think it’s only right for me to finish the right way.”

A four-year starter in the outfield, Loughman led UTSA with a .750 slugging percentage and seven home runs in 2020. The surge in power was a significant change for Loughman, who hit eight home runs during her first three years combined. Her previous best slugging percentage was .491 as a freshman.

The evolution was a result of retooling her swing and approach at the plate, a process she started with assistant coach Carlton Salters before her sophomore season. Previously a slap hitter, Loughman switched to a more conventional batting stance and began thinking through her at-bats, trying to anticipate incoming pitches.Instead of aiming to put […]

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