Olivia Chapman made history at Zephyrhills Christian Academy becoming the first female athlete in school history to sign a national letter of intent to be a scholarship student athlete.
Chapman, a senior softball player at ZCA, signed a scholarship offer to play collegiate softball at University of Charleston in West Virginia.
In front of a packed chapel at ZCA filled with her fellow students, teammates, teachers, family, friends and coaches, Chapman thank everyone who guided her through her journey from her beginning in travel ball to her putting her name on the national letter of intent.
“My parents have spent so much time and money investing in me, I seriously cannot express how much I appreciate and thank them for everything they’ve done for me from taking me to Georgia to play and taking me back to West Virginia,” Chapman said.
The historical significance on the signing isn’t lost on Chapman. Once she discovered there was never a female athlete to sign to play college athletics, she was determined to be the first.
“It’s nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time,” Chapman said of being the first. “I wanted to be the first one. I was determined to make it happen. It is really cool. I’m excited.
West Virginia holds a special place in her heart as she and her family are originally from the Mountaineer state. She will have fans in the stands when she plays for the Golden Eagles as many of her family members are just 30 minutes from the college.
The members of the University of Charleston are originally from Florida and coach at Rollins University.
“I didn’t like playing in the heat all the time and I like the change of seasons,” Chapman said. “I love it there. I like the cold.”
Chapman has a hearing challenge that would hinder many athletes, but she has overcome the issue with the use of hearing aids and pure determination. It hasn’t slowed her down one bit and she continues to excel on and off the field.
“I don’t see it as something that would ever keep me from playing,” Chapman said. “I can do whatever is needed.”