Ranch Reflections are articles written by LRHS students and staff who want to share their experiences, thoughts, and concerns. This is a great opportunity for Mustangs to branch out beyond traditional news stories.  This edition features the memories of a softball star who’s finishing her fourth varsity year.

LRHS junior Cassidy McLellan is one of America’s top softball players

Cassidy McLellan – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Over my past four years as a Mustang, I have played on the varsity softball team.

Freshmen year, 2020: I showed up for tryouts a little nervous since there were 10 seniors going to Division I (D1) colleges. After three days of tryouts, a fellow freshman who is now one of my best friends and I, made the varsity team.

My first year was the year that everyone thought we would win states. There were so many talented people in our starting lineup that there was no doubt in anyone’s mind we would make it to the state championship and win it.

However, 2020 had different plans. COVID-19 ended our season after we played only eight games.

Even though I only played eight games that season, it still impacted me. Practicing and playing with that team for the small amount of time I did made me a better player.

Sophomore year, 2021: The whole team had a goal. We wanted to play for those seniors that did not get their last year of high school softball.

Our saying that year was “Find A Way.” We wanted to find a way to finish what those seniors started.

After a 30-2 record, we won the first softball state championship the school and the county had ever seen. That weekend was so much fun. From the bus ride to and from Clermont, staying in the hotel, going out to eat, and, obviously, winning.

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Junior year, 2022: We are ranked number one in the state and number three in the nation. We are defending state champions and still confident going into this year.

Our saying my junior year was “R.E.B.A” which stands for “Run Everything Back Again,” and we did. Our record was again 30-2 and we won states.

Winning the state title this time was even sweeter because the team we beat in the championship was the same team that handed us our two losses of the year.

Senior year, 2023: We started off ranked number one in the state and number three in the nation.

However, we’re adjusting to a new coach and we are not having the season that we are used to. Our saying this year is “R.A.C.E.” which stands for “REBA And Compete Everyday.”

We had some ups and downs this season, but I still learned so much from my coaches and teammates and enjoyed every second on the field.

Next year I will be wearing a different number, different colors, and have different teammates in a different school (D1 University of Florida), but win or lose our last game here, I am going to miss it all.

Thank you, Lakewood Ranch softball, for all the memories.