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BRAINS AND BRAWN

Lehigh lands Cassie Waggy for academic, athletic achievements

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BRAINS AND BRAWN

East Union assistant softball coach Randy Friend, from left, John Waggy, Johnny Waggy, head coach Brian Goulart and Anjelica Waggy watch as senior Cassie Waggy signs her letter of understanding to ...

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 18, 2010 2:50 a.m.
A prophecy was fulfilled and a dream came true Monday for Cassie Waggy.

Flashback to Nov. 16 of 2007, when East Union High’s star softball pitcher, Erin Arevalo, was fixing to sign her letter of intent to play for national NCAA power Georgia at the school’s library.

Then a freshman, Waggy was joined by classmates Brittany LaMar and Jillian Goulart to support their teammate and perhaps get a feel for what the future holds for them.

John Waggy, Cassie’s father, leaned over and whispered, “One day, you’ll be here doing this.”

That day came Monday, nearly three years to the day, when Waggy drew her signature on a “letter of understanding” to play for NCAA Division-I Lehigh University of Bethlehem, Penn.

Waggy is receiving an academic scholarship that will cover most costs. Lehigh is a part of the Patriot League, which, like the Ivy League, prohibits athletic scholarships.

“Me and my wife (Anjelica) are extremely proud of Cassie,” John Waggy said. “She worked hard academically as well as athletically to get to where she’s at right now.

“She missed out on a lot of dances, parties and Friday night football games to study and play travel softball.”

The library was a fitting setting for Cassie Waggy to sign.

She is as much a bookworm as she is a defensive whiz at either corner of the infield, or a powerful slugger inside the batter’s box.

Waggy’s report card may be more impressive than the gaudy stats she posted in her first three years as a varsity softball player. Her 4.33 GPA is second best in EU’s senior class, and she has never had a B grade. And her SAT score of 1870 is plenty good enough for most academic universities to take notice.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” Waggy said of her academic resume. “Since I was little, my mom and dad really pushed me to do my best in school. I’ve always known that someday softball is going to end, so even as a young kid I wasn’t always thinking about going to a big D-I school just for the softball.

“I knew then that someday it was going to have to end and that one day it will be all about what I do academically. I’ll always have my fallback that will get me through life.”

On the field, the three-time all-Valley Oak League first-team honoree batted .476 with two homers, 33 RBIs and 30 runs last season while leading the Lancers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.

Her sophomore year, she was named the Bulletin’s All-Area co-MVP after hitting .500 with 27 RBIs to go with an area-best 39 hits, nine doubles and four home runs.

As a freshman, she hit .398 and was a part of the last Lancer team to advance to the section playoff finals.

East Union head coach Brian Goulart had little doubt that Waggy would be heading to a four-year university, even if the softball thing didn’t work out for her.

“Her mind was set since Day 1 that she wanted to go to a top-notch school,” said EU head coach Brian Goulart. “For her to sign now is a huge relief. Now she can just play relaxed and have fun. She’s just a well-rounded individual, a true student-athlete.”

It’s a good thing, too. Regarded as a top academic school, Lehigh’s students are held to the highest of standards. Getting to compete in the athletic arena there is just a bonus.

Waggy was fortunate to have options. Bucknell, a Patriot League rival of Lehigh’s, was also after her, as was Dartmouth of the Ivy League.

 “I’ve always wanted to go to a big-name school, but a school known for academics,” Waggy said. “It makes me feel accomplished that I did what I set out to do.”

Ten Lehigh softball players were named to the 2010 Patriot League academic honor roll, and the team as a whole made the National Fastpitch Coaches Association all-Academic list.

But make no mistake about it — the Mountain Hawks can play a little softball, too.

Despite posting its 10th straight 30-win season last year, Lehigh failed and had its 11-year reign as the Patriot League’s regular-season champion ended by Army.

“I am an athlete, so even though I wanted to go to an academic school I also didn’t want to go to some cupcake athletic school,” Waggy said. “I’m excited to be a part of a program like that.”
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