Recently Mr. Lambert’s Distance Learning Current Events in Sports & Society class enjoyed the opportunity to interact with its first guest speaker of the school year, Cassie Woods.  A standout collegiate softball player, in 2022 Woods led all NCAA Division 3 (which consists of over 400 teams) players in hits en route to garnering conference, regional, and All-American accolades.  She then transferred to Trine University in Indiana, where she again excelled, playing a pivotal role as the Thunder captured the first NCAA National Softball Championship in program history.  

Joining the class remotely from her home in Connecticut, Woods shared with the class her unique journey.  In high school, she excelled in soccer, but a serious back injury and a subsequent surgery dashed any aspirations she had of pursuing the sport in college.  Instead, Woods furthered her already existing passion for softball.  She began her college experience at Division 2 Southern Connecticut State University, but additional injuries led her to transfer to Keene State College.  There, Woods thrived on the diamond, leading her team in many offensive categories and earning Little East All-Conference recognition.  After graduating from Keene with a double major in Economics and Political Science, amid the Covid pandemic, Woods enrolled at Eastern Connecticut State University.  In her time with the Warriors, despite enduring a challenging battle with cancer, Woods again excelled both on the field and in the classroom.  After helping lead her team to a berth in the NCAA Division 3 Softball World Series and graduating with her Master’s Degree in Accounting, Woods took advantage of her final year of athletic eligibility by transferring to Trine; there she accomplished her ultimate goal and became a national champion.

Speaking to the Current Events in Sports and Society class consisting of both Granville and Amsterdam students, Woods provided tremendous insight into several aspects related to intercollegiate athletics.  In addition to her own experiences, she articulately addressed topics such as the NCAA Transfer Portal, time management, work ethic, and the importance of remaining true to oneself. 

Throughout the presentation, members of the class were engaged, and many lauded the value of the content shared.  Granville’s Jack Best commented, “I think that Cassie did a good job expressing what the life of a college athlete was like. It was helpful to know the different types of commitment levels associated with the D1, D2, and D3 college levels. Overall, I think that her journey as an athlete was a very interesting story.”

Amsterdam’s Francesca Murphy echoed many of the same sentiments.  She stated, “Cassie was a very intelligent speaker. She accomplished a lot in her career and it was very inspiring to hear how she fought through her struggles with cancer while playing softball at the collegiate level. Her story shows how working hard pays off and perseverance will get you far! Her journey with transferring also shows how everything happens for a reason. I was inspired by her story and know she will do great things in the future.” 

Francesca’s Amsterdam classmate Emma Miller was another student that appreciated the opportunity to interact with Woods.  When asked what she thought of the presentation, she shared, “I enjoyed getting to meet Cassie and learn more about her story regarding college athletics. She proved to me that anything is possible if you truly want it and work hard for it. Cassie has gone through so much personally, but she has always made the most of her situation. Her success was not given, but it was most definitely earned. Cassie is a wonderful person and inspiration to anyone looking to participate in college athletics.” 

One of the hallmarks of an effective speaker is the ability to connect with the audience.  Throughout her time in Current Events in Sports & Society, Cassie Woods did just that.  Hopefully her words of wisdom continue to resonate with the class’ students as they embark upon their future endeavors.