BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Kelsey Aikey, a senior pitcher for WKU Softball is set to return next season after being given another year of eligibility.
On Monday on the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility for spring athletes whose season were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Happy is completely an understatement," Aikey said on the "Beyond the Hill" podcast regarding the NCAA's decision. "It's crazy I get to have a fifth year and start all my goals over."
WKU Softball, like many spring sports across the county, had its season postponed and ultimately canceled in mid-March. The last game the Hilltoppers resulted in a 5-4 loss to the University of Texas-Arlington.
"I was playing every single game like it's my last and you never know that one game could actually be your last," Aikey said. "Whether it's from this crazy virus, or from an injury or anything like that. So it was definitely hard hearing that things were suspended and that was my last game."
Before the season was canceled the Hilltoppers were 20-5, including a 10-3 record by Aikey. The senior currently has 462 career strikeouts, fifth all-time for WKU Softball. Aikey has also tallied 43 wins during her time on the hill. Now with another year of eligibility, Aikey has the opportunity to climb the leaderboards.
"The next year I want to push myself even harder because I know what my capabilities are," Aikey said. "Every year I want to be better."
Aikey said she was nervous leading up the NCAA's vote on whether or not to grant spring athletes an additional year but tried not to stress over what she can't control.
"You can only control what you can control," Aikey said. "Not getting stressed out over it and knowing that everything is hopefully going to work out the way that you want it to."
The NCAA's decision did not apply to winter athletic such as basketball, as most of if not all of their regular seasons had been completed. Aikey said she and her teammates will be dedicating their next season to not only the WKU winter sports but winter sports across the county and the athletes that didn't receive an additional year.
"We're going to be playing for these winter sports in our 2021 season," Aikey said.
Aikey said that head coach Amy Tudor has told the team to take this time to rest. Once things begin to settle down regarding the Coronavirus, the team will start getting in shape and preparing for the new season.