Lakes Alumni Takes on Division 1 Softball


C.C. Flemming hits a homerun against Woodstock North.

Only 1.7% of High School Softball players are expected to continue their career at the NCAA Division 1 level. This means that alumni playing D1 Softball are usually few and far between at Lakes. However, one of our very own Eagles is now competing at the highest level that a collegiate athlete can compete at. Cierra (CC) Fleming, a 2022 graduate, has recently started her Freshman year at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. She gave me an inside look at the recruiting process and what it’s like to be a collegiate athlete.

She started the recruiting process a little late compared to others, waiting until the summer before her Senior year. However, travel softball really helped her be put on display to college coaches. Her travel coach would inform her if certain colleges were going to be at the same Softball showcases that they were competing in, in order for her to contact some of the college coaches. In these emails between her and the softball coaches, she would give them information such as what field she would be playing on, her jersey number, and what positions she plays on the field. By giving this to coaches, she makes it as easy as possible for them to point her out in a game so they can focus on her and see her talent. Wichita State’s Head softball coach, Kristi Bredbenner, saw this talent in CC. In September 2021, CC committed to play softball for Coach Bredbenner, and the rest is history.

Almost a year later, she is now practicing with her new teammates at Wilkins Stadium, preparing for the 2023 NCAA Division 1 season. CC put it in pretty simple terms: “College softball is a grind. It’s your life at college. There’s not a lot of free time, and when there is, it’s usually spent putting in extra work.” Dedicating up to 20 hours a week of just team workouts and practices, there leaves student-athletes little spare time. She said that it can be “very tough mentally,” and that “there’s a lot of pressure and expectations and it can be a lot to deal with sometimes.” However, Wichita State athletics realizes this and offers numerous mental health opportunities to aid their athletes, making sure they’re accounting for all aspects of their well-being. To make sure student-athletes are keeping up with the “student” aspect of their title, there are 5 hours of study hall every week for athletes to catch up on their assignments, to avoid falling behind in class.

While there are some drastic changes in transitioning to college Softball, CC explained that it’s “very rewarding” and looks forward to “playing games and hopefully winning conference” in the spring. Competing in the American Athletic Conference may pose a challenge, but with all of the hard work and dedication being put in, I’m sure Wichita State will go far this upcoming season. Go Shockers!