When Greenbrier girls basketball practice starts next week, Taylor Dupree will be there. But first she has some unfinished business to take care of.
Dupree and her teammates are in Columbus, Ga., competing in the Class AAAAA State Softball Tournament’s Elite 8 with an eye on the school’s second state softball title.
Naturally, she wants to win the state championship, but whatever the outcome, she’ll be ready to shift gears and move on.
“It’s a challenge because it’s hard to go from softball to basketball because of the time, it’s consuming time,” Dupree said. “It’s worth it because it keeps you in shape and it’s a lot of fun.”
As a freshman in 2010, Dupree started every game at third base as the team finished as state runners-up. This year she played shortstop and was recently named the 2012 Region 2-AAAAA Player of the Year.
“It’s a really big accomplishment,” said Dupree. “I’ve been striving to get better as my years have gone, and without my coaches helping me along the way, it wouldn’t have been possible.
“And all the support my team gives me, it makes me want to do better for them.”
In the team’s second round doubleheader leading to the Elite 8, Dupree had four hits in eight at-bats and made crucial plays at the end of each game, killing rallies that threatened Lady Wolfpack leads.
“She’s just a tremendous competitor,” said Greenbrier head coach Garrett Black. “I think Taylor is contagious. Her play is contagious. Her will to win is contagious.
‘‘You can see over the last two or three weeks our ninth- and 10th-graders are starting to develop a little of that. That mental toughness. That wanting to compete.”
Dupree said she prefers being in the field to taking her cuts at the plate.
“I’ve kind of moved over to defense, actually,” Dupree said. “I like the competition of having to go get the ball. Batting is good too, but you always need your defense to get the ball.”
Athletics has always been in her blood.
“I grew up in a house with athletes and I just have grown on that, and it’s something I enjoy. It kind of is my getaway. My dad (Gregg), played baseball and football in high school and so he inspired me.”
And while still early in her junior year, she already has plans to follow in her father’s collegiate footsteps.
“I’m actually verbally committed to the (Division I) College of Charleston to play softball,” said Dupree. “So, I’m pretty excited about that. It’s my dream school. My dad went to the College of Charleston, so that’s kind of a cool experience to be able to do that.
“It’s a relief because instead of worrying about where you are going to go, if you are going to be able to reach your goals, you already have them, so you just play the game you know how to play and build off of that.”