Brittany Payne has quietly graduated Washington & Lee High School and is now looking ahead at her final year at Virginia State University playing for the Lady Trojans Softball Team. While she didn’t gather the recruitment to play collegiate sports coming out of high school, she proved early on that she is a valuable student-athlete to have on any team.
“VSU kind of fit and I was blessed,” Payne said, adding that she was a bit nervous for her tryout.
Payne said she noticed the competition was much higher in college. The challenge was competing for a spot on the team, she added. She was red-shirted her freshman year, then started her sophomore and junior seasons.
She has moved from playing first base to second.
“I’ve always loved the game of softball and it’s just more intense,” Payne said, after drifting away from playing organized basketball.
Payne has managed to keep with up the demands even on the collegiate level after moving from W&L. In the past two semesters, Payne said she has juggled playing and practicing softball, working 20 hours a week and in between attending a internship with NASCAR Kinetics. Payne maintained a 4.0 GPA during that period of time.
VSU Softball coach Torrie Lashley said Payne has been an exceptional student-athlete. Her work even extends out to service projects such as Walk for Hunger, Read-Aloud to local elementary schools and assisting with can food drives for the holidays.
“I must admit that, Brittany’s attitude, sportsmanship and dedication and willingness to learn separate’s her from the rest,” Lashley said.
But Payne admitted it’s been a challenge to keep up with everything.
“It’s been hard and some difficult times. Being focused has been my main priority and it’s gotten me to my senior year,” Payne said.
The rising senior played both basketball and softball while attending W&L. She picked up the sports from her parents Johanna and George Sr.
Payne plans make her parents proud by graduating from VSU majoring in sports management and getting her masters in sports management or recreation. The plan is to own a sports complex, be a coach or an athletic director.
“I’ve been playing sports since I was a little girl, so I just wanted to stick with what I know,” Payne said.