By Mike McClure

Laurel senior Carlie Venables has excelled in the classroom and on the sports fields in her time at Laurel High School, playing softball, basketball and field hockey. She is looking to continue that success at Siena College in Loundonsville, NY where she will study health science.

“It (picking a school) was a stressful experience, so I’m glad it’s over with,” Venables said during her college signing last week at Laurel High School. “To get to play it four more years is very exciting.”

Laurel senior Carlie Venables is shown with parents Scott and Karen Venables during her college signing last week at Laurel High School. Venables will attend Siena College where she will study health science and play softball. Photo by Mike McClure

Carlie said she liked the area (upstate New York) as well as the school and its academics and the softball team. She called the school’s distance from home drivable, but far enough away.

Venables is hoping to continue playing shortstop at Siena, a position she has played all of her life including her five years with the varsity team. She proved herself to people who said she was too short to play the position, excelling defensively since she was in eighth grade.

“I think I’ve proven myself when I play,” said Venables. “It (playing shortstop) makes the game very fun.”

“She makes the plays that you don’t think somebody’s going to make and she makes them look easy,” Laurel head coach Jodi Green said of Venables, who is her co-captain along with fellow senior Makenzie Whaley. “We’re proud of her. She deserves it. She’s a hard worker, she’s a good athlete and she’s a good student.”

Venables proved naysayers wrong on the basketball court as well, accumulating over 1,000 points in her career.

“You’ve got to work with what you have,” said Venables. “That (scoring 1,000 points) really topped it (senior season) off. I think we did really good with what we had.”

Carlie is thankful for the support she has received from her teammates and coaches. “They were just happy for me to commit somewhere,” she said. “I’m going to miss all my friends.”

Her family supported her throughout the recruiting process. Her father, Scott, told her she would find where she belongs.

“The support I’ve had from them (parents Scott and Karen Venables) has just been great,” Venables said. “I’ve been a Bulldog my whole life. My family’s been Bulldogs their whole lives.”

“I think it (Carlie’s signing) says a lot and it gives other girls on the team hope that they can do it as well, play at the next level. That’s every young softball player’s dream, to do something you love and to have your education paid for,” said Green.

While she is excited about her future at Siena, Carlie’s focussed on helping to lead the Laurel softball team as far as it can go.

“It should be a good one. It should be our best season yet,” she said.