COVINGTON, Ga. - Family, teammates and coaches gathered inside the Eastside High School auditorium on Nov. 10 to celebrate Lauren Burnett signing to play softball at the University of Georgia on Nov. 10.
Going to UGA has always been the goal for Burnett. Now, her dream is coming true.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time,” Burnett said. “I just knew I wanted to go to Georgia and that’s where I’m going.”
Burnett signed to further her softball career as a Lady Bulldog on the heels of an impressive career at Eastside.
During her senior year, Burnett had a .442 batting average while hitting four home runs and 26 RBIs. She also stole five bases.
As the team’s shortstop, Burnett recorded an 89% field percentage, too.
All of these statistics earned her a Region 8-AAAAA’s First Team All-Region honor this season.
Burnett’s career as a Lady Eagle was much more than numbers in a statistics book, though. She said that Eastside has prepared her for the amount of work playing college softball entails.
“My work ethic has been developed here,” Burnett said. “Especially playing school ball and going to school at the same time. I feel like college ball will be the same way. Sometimes I go work out in the morning just to prepare myself for that, then go to school and go to team practice right after that.”
Realizing this doesn’t mean Burnett is quite ready to leave her high school behind.
After Wednesday’s ceremony, she listed off multiple memories that she’ll take with her to Athens. But there is a central theme around each memory. And that is the individuals she’s met along her high school journey.
“I’ll miss all of the people,” Burnett said. “I’ll love college, that’s for sure. But in high school, it seems different.”
Along with her memories, Burnett has learned some very important lessons while playing softball at Eastside.
There was no lesson more important than one Burnett learned from her freshman season.
Burnett injured her shoulder that caused her to miss games. But that didn’t deter her from fighting back to the playing field.
After returning to action, Burnett realized something unique about herself.
“I learned that I can work through anything,” Burnett said. “I feel like nothing can stop me at this point.”
So, when Burnett packs her bags next fall to move to the Classic City, she’ll also take all of the memories and moments from her career at Eastside.
Transitioning to a Power-5 conference won’t be easy, but Burnett feels prepared as ever for the big stage.
“It’s an SEC school,” Burnett said. “So there’ll be big crowds at the games that I’m ready for. But, mostly, I’m excited about joining the UGA program to work with the coaches and teammates.”