Freshman Kelsi Tatton (right) playing against UTEP earlier this season. Tatton scored her first goal of the year against North Dakota.  (Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)
Freshman Kelsi Tatton (right) playing against UTEP earlier this season. Tatton scored her first goal of the year against North Dakota.
(Ariana Berkemeier / The Signpost)

In high schools all across America, young athletes are signing letters of intent, committing to play at different universities. Their hope is to shine on the field or the court, but more often than not they are restricted to a spot on the bench and keeping that piece of it warm for a different star.

This season, however, the benches are getting pretty cold.

In almost all of the sports teams at Weber, the circumstances have been such that for several young freshmen, their time to shine is now, and boy are they shining.

Kelsi Tatton is a freshman on the Wildcat soccer team. As the season began, her hopes were to see a few minutes here and there as a sub for the team. Due to several early injuries to starters for the team, that changed really fast.

Over the last six games, Tatton’s playing time moved from roughly 15 minutes to both starting and averaging about 60 minutes, and her presence has been felt. Last Sunday in a game against North Dakota, she sealed the deal by scoring on a loose ball in front of the net that led to a 3-0 demolishing of UND.

“Its been a really interesting year for me,” Tatton said. “I expected to maybe see a bit of playing time every now and again, but, since the beginning, I have been out more and more each game. It’s exciting to really be out there putting forth my best effort each game.”

Coach Tim Crompton agreed, and spoke on the crucial role of freshmen like Tatton.

“We have asked them to step forward and fill the holes in our squad,” said Crompton, “they are rising to the challenges we have put them in and it’s starting to work out for us.”

Freshman wide receiver Drew Batchelor makes the catch against Southern Utah earlier this year. Batchelor is one of the top receiving options for the Wildcats, after injuries to other players moved him up the depth chart.  (Source: Weber State Athletics)
Freshman wide receiver Drew Batchelor makes the catch against Southern Utah earlier this year. Batchelor is one of the top receiving options for the Wildcats, after injuries to other players moved him up the depth chart.
(Source: Weber State Athletics)

On the football team, Drew Batchelor never really thought that he would see much time on the field when he signed with the Wildcats in February of this year. But, like the soccer team, a few players were injured, his name and number were called and his chance to step up and perform came quicker than he could have imagined.

The result? During the most recent game between the Wildcats and in-state rival Southern Utah University, he produced big, catching the ball four times for a total of 92 yards and two touchdowns, including a 64-yard score.

“It was just being in the right place at the right time for me,” said Batchelor. “I planned to come out and work as hard as I could, and that hard work paid off.”

Batchelor pointed to his hard-working mentality as his key to success.

“Working hard every day is what helped me to realize what I could accomplish,” Batchelor said. “All the seniors have played their hardest and though their play in practice, it has helped me to work harder and develop more into the player I want to be.”

Freshman Amanda Varley goes up for the attack in the Wildcats' home-opening loss to Montana earlier this season. Varley is  (Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)
Freshman Amanda Varley goes for the attack in the Wildcats’ home-opening loss to Montana earlier this season. Varley ranks third on the team, averaging 2.04 kills per set.
(Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)

On the volleyball court, Amanda Varley loves how, from her first moments on the team, she has felt like a part of something bigger.

“Of the teams I have been on, this one has been amazing,” said Varley. “From the first day, there was no difference between players—we all worked and bonded as one, and made our focus to play as good as we all could together.”

This season she has put up quite a spectacle, logging 137 kills in 67 sets. She has been a solid part of the team, playing as an outside hitter.

“The playing time aside, what this season has done for me is set the foundation for my career,” said Varley. “I still have several years to go, and the opportunities I have had so early in my career have helped to set the groundwork for my development as both a player and a person. It’s a blessing.”

The bench may be getting colder, but these young stars couldn’t be any hotter. Rising to the call, they are both meeting and exceeding the everyone’s expectations. Their future holds a lot of potential—potential that is helping their teams be the best they can be.

Charles can be found Tweeting @cbowkstar_91 or acting a fool at any Wildcat Sporting event.

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