Ever since Halifax County senior Kamyria Woody-Giggetts can remember, she’s not only wanted to play college softball, but collegiate softball at the highest level at a major Division-I college or university.
It’s not every day or often a childhood dream comes true, but Woody-Giggetts got to see hers come to fruition Wednesday afternoon.
With her family to her left and right and her coaches and administrative staff to the back of her, Woody-Giggetts signed her letter of intent to play softball at the University of Virginia in the fall.
“I feel great, I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me and my family,” Woody-Giggetts said. “I’m very excited to go Division I, I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little girl.”
Growing up every athlete receives bits of wisdom such as “Keep your eye on the ball,” “Don’t falter under adversity” and “Be the best teammate you can be.” While Woody-Giggetts has heard such things since she first laced her cleats, she was also given another nugget she still carries with her and one that led to her decision to attend UVa.
“I’ve grown up always being told that I need to look at your softball team as your family and UVA made me feel like family and when I saw that kind of atmosphere, I didn’t want to look anywhere else,” Woody-Giggetts said.
Both Woody-Giggetts’ mother, Shameka Jennings, and her stepfather James Jennings, expressed their joy after the signing.
“It feels amazing, I’m so proud of her,” Shameka said. “She’s put so much effort into this from the start and to see the hard work pay off for her is so great.”
James agreed with his wife and added, “I’m just very happy for. I’ve seen all the hard work she’s put in and what she’s accomplished because of it and I’m excited to see what she’s got from here.”
Along with UVa., Woody-Giggetts received offers from Radford University, N.C. State, Virginia Tech and Longwood. However, at the end of the day, it was her future teammates’ personalities and senses of humor that factored the most into her decision.
“Yes, I felt like I fit in very well, the laughter, the humor, the personalities, their outgoingness,” Woody-Giggetts said. “Everybody likes to do different things and I’m down to learn what everybody else likes and just be an open book. They made me feel like I was really wanted there compared to everywhere else I went.”
Woody-Giggetts will join a Cavaliers’ program that’s coming off a 28-26 season, including a 13-11 mark in Athletic Coast Conference (ACC) play. In addition, the ‘Cavs recorded 69 stolen bases on 88 attempts last season. Expect Woody-Giggetts’ speed and baserunning skills to help UVa. improve on those numbers over the next four years.
In addition, Woody-Giggetts also knows she’ll bring her brand of work ethic and solid attitude to the Cavaliers as well.
“Speed, base running, attitude and good sportsmanship, everything an athlete has to offer,” Woody-Giggetts said. “Just going to go in there and put my best foot forward.”
While many high school seniors in her position would be a bit apprehensive right now, Woody-Giggetts is ready to jump in feet first.
“It feels like a relief because I feel like I’ve made it this far and I’m ready for the new chapter,” she said. “I’m ready for all the new beginnings that I have coming and I’m going to work my hardest to be a physical therapist and work hard in my major of kinesiology.”
For her mom and stepdad, Woody-Giggetts’ signing is validation to all the hard work and sacrifice all parties involved have put in over the past four years.
“She started at four years old and we’ve been behind her from the start, helped her out a lot,” Shameka said. “Coaches she’s had over the years have been great. She’s always learned from. Once you show her she has the potential to do something, she goes after it, works hard at it and we’re really proud at what she’s become, a really great young lady.”
James added, “It’s very rewarding after all the years and sacrifice we’ve made for her to see this day come to fruition.”
Work and sacrifice their daughter hasn’t forgotten.
“I want to thank them for pushing me to keep playing my sport and I thank them because without him, I would probably suck,” Woody-Giggetts said laughing. “A whole lot of thanks go to my parents.”
Charles Barkley told the world he wasn’t a role model in his now infamous 1993 Nike commercial.
If Woody-Giggetts had her own Nike spot, her message would be a bit different. Not only does she cop up to being a role model for young female athletes in South Boston/Halifax County, she also has a few words of wisdom for them as well.
“I would say if you love sports, work hard every day at it,” Woody-Giggetts said. “Always ask questions when you go to camps and see what everybody else’s point of view is and it’ll make you a better ballplayer and person in general.”