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Troup softball team getting started

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It’s time for Troup High’s softball players to meet their new coach.

Earlier this year, Kayla Yeargin stepped down as Troup’s head softball coach, and Ryan Simpson was hired as her replacement.

Unfortunately for Simpson, she has yet to meet face-to-face with her players because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Simpson will get that opportunity on Monday.

Thanks to a decision by the Georgia High School Association, high-school sports teams in the state will be able to begin voluntary summer workouts on Monday.

Softball teams will be limited in what they can do.

Most notably, teams can’t use softballs or other game-related equipment, and social-distancing will need to be maintained during the workouts.

Also, no more than 20 individuals, including players and coaches, can participate in a workout.

At Troup, the players will be divided into two groups.

Players who are in the 10th, 11th or 12th grade will work out from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m., while the eighth-graders and freshmen will be at the school from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

The time between workout sessions will be used to disinfect everything and prepare for the arrival of the next group.

Workouts during the summer will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Yeargin had been Troup’s head coach for the past two seasons, but she left to take a teaching position at Oconee County High.

Yeargin’s replacement is Simpson, a Valley (Ala.) native who was a standout softball player at Point University from 2016 to 2019.

While Simpson is new to the softball team, she is familiar with Troup High after serving as a student teacher while she was at Point University.

This is Simpson’s first head-coaching position, but she feels she’s prepared for the challenge.

“I’m ready,” said Simpson, who taught at Gardner Newman Middle School during the 2019-2020 school year. “I’ve done camps at Point, I’ve given lessons to girls. I’ve helped in recreation departments before. Being able to have a team of my own and get to give my knowledge to girls at this level, I feel like it’s going to be a great experience.”

Simpson is happy to be at Troup after having such a positive experience as a student teacher.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I did my student teaching at Troup. Ever since I did my student teaching, it’s somewhere that I was interested in, and I’m just glad that (principal Niki Watts) called.”

Simpson takes over a team that went 10-16 last season and lost a hard-fought series to Cedartown in the Region 5-AAAA tournament.

Seniors Skye Loftin, Olivia McInvale and Tashauna Askew will need to be replaced, but everyone else from last year’s team will return.

After playing in Region 5-AAAA the past four years, Troup is moving into Region 2-AAAA this fall along with LaGrange, Carver, Columbus, Hardaway, Jordan, Kendrick, Shaw and Spencer.