Megan Guidry’s next step after high school was decided before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a screeching halt.
The then-Valley Central junior committed to continue her softball career at SUNY Fredonia in February, a month before schools were closed and three months before her spring softball season was canceled altogether.
“I wanted to make it that early,” Guidry said. “I was looking at other schools and they didn’t really work out. I went to visit the (Fredonia) campus and did an overnight. That’s when I made the decision.”
She was taken with the small campus, which offered her the opportunity to walk and described Fredonia’s seventh-year softball coach Tony Ciccarello as “amazing.” She also had a positive experience meeting the current players on the team and found the dynamic is like what she’s experienced at Valley Central.
“They do a lot of volunteering as a team together and do a lot of team meetings and they just spend a lot of time together,” she said.
Guidry came up to the varsity team as a sophomore and played right field, but Valley Central coach Katie Farrugia said she’s more of a left fielder. She provides the Vikings with a lot of hustle, drive and her speed is “unmatched.” Offensively, she can create runs with her speed, steal bases. She can push runners, or she can knock them in.
“She’s a go-getter,” Farrugia said. “She would do anything to get out in the field and play. Every practice she would get better and better.”
At Fredonia, she expects to remain in the outfield, which Guidry said is her preferred position. She also said she expects a lot of personal responsibility to fall on her shoulders.
“He has meetings with all the girls every week,” Guidry said. “He talks to them about how they’re doing, not just softball but school.”
Committing early worked to Guidry’s advantage as the pandemic shut down her junior softball season, when many prospective college players seek to get looked at by coaches. That didn’t remove the sting of losing the season though.
“It was hard,” Guidry said. “I didn’t know what to do with myself at first, but I was lucky that I got to play over the summer with my travel team.”
She plays for the Ulster Phillies during the summer and wasn’t completely away from softball as she practiced on her own with her father. But she did find it difficult to be separated from her hometown Valley Central teammates for so long.
“I appreciated the game more because I knew what it was like now to not be able to play,” Guidry said.
There’s plenty of life to be lived and softball to be played before heading off to college in the fall. There’s still the hope that the spring 2021 softball season won’t be affected any more than it has been already. Softball is considered a moderate-risk sport by the New York State Dept. of Health and has been cleared to play.
Preseason practice, which usually starts in early March is scheduled to begin April 19.
“I hope we actually get a season and I hope it isn’t all rushed into one or two weeks because we need time to prepare,” Guidry said.
After that, she plans to major in elementary childhood inclusive education. She said she has always been good with kids and always loved her elementary school teachers.
Farrugia said she has the tools to succeed.
“I think if she goes up there with an open mind, she’ll succeed,” Farrugia said. “If she has that drive, she’ll succeed. She has a drive to be better every day. I think if she continues to do that, she can help Fredonia and find a starting spot.”