May 9, 2023

2023 SEC Softball Community Service Team Announced

By: SEC Staff
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

Fayetteville, Ark. – The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 21 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to their community in superior service efforts. The 2023 SEC Softball Community Service Team is as follows:

Ally Shipman, Graduate, Catcher, Alabama

Shipman participated in a number of collaborative community service opportunities with fellow Alabama student-athletes, including the annual Halloween Extravaganza, which allows area children to interact and play games with Alabama student-athletes while dressed in Halloween costumes. For National Girls and Women in Sport Day, Shipman and some of her Crimson Tide softball teammates spoke to young girls at local elementary schools about their experiences as female student-athletes. She also spoke with local Girl Scouts about best practices and potential dangers with social media and life as a college student-athlete. Shipman was selected as Alabama’s female nominee for the SEC’s 2023 H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She was also tapped into The XXXI at Alabama, an all-female honor society recognizing women who have shown great commitment to the University through service, leadership and character.

Ally Sockey, Sophomore, Utility, Arkansas

An education major at Arkansas, Sockey is enthusiastic about giving back to the community as she participates in several community service events both on and off the field. She participates with Miracle League of Arkansas by assisting children with special needs play baseball and softball. With Miracle League, Sockey builds relationships with players and helps teach the game of softball. In addition to volunteering with Miracle League, she guest speaks at local Arkansas schools and discusses the importance of education and academics. Most recently, Sockey visited a school in Nashville, Ark., and discussed why it is important for children to stay on top of their grades and attend class. In addition to mentoring students on striving for academic excellence, she advises students on how to use social media properly. Sockey also participates in Arkansas’ annual Salute to Veterans. She was named a 2022 NFCA Academic All-America Scholar Athlete.

Sydney Cox, Junior, Utility, Auburn

Cox led the team in total hours of volunteering, primarily through serving on Auburn’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. As part of SAAC, she helps find different organization within Auburn and Opelika areas, is responsible for communicating details of community service events to her fellow student-athletes and helps SAAC marketing initiatives to help promote community service opportunities. Cox participated in five different team volunteering events throughout the 2022-23 academic year. She volunteered for the Auburn Downtown Trick-or-Treat, which allowed members of Auburn athletics to team up and interact with kids throughout the community during the Halloween event. Cox also helped coordinate Auburn softball’s yearly “Toys for Tots” donation. She used a large portion of her NIL compensation to buy essentials like winters clothes as well as toys and bikes. The “Toys for Tots” event is Cox’s favorite event as she feels like every child should have a found memory of Christmas, no matter what their family or economic situation. She has worked with the campus food pantry, which collects food for low-income students that attend Auburn so that they can solely focus on academics. Cox also participated in Operation Iron Ruck, another annual event where softball donates items to veterans that have returned to Auburn to finish their education. The team donates basic needed items like deodorant, toothpaste and used textbooks to help relieve some of the financial burden of returning to school. Cox also volunteered at Auburn’s local humane society by handmaking dog toys. On campus, she has assisted in college career fairs, checked in students, guided employers, and gave her peers words of encouragement/affirmation on stressful interview days.

Kinsey Goelz, Graduate Senior, Infield, Florida

Through the Goodwill Gator Volunteerism program, Goelz has volunteered over 90 hours this academic year in the greater Gainesville community and has touched numerous lives along the way. This year, she has participated in reading and mentoring programs at numerous elementary schools, and visited children at Shands Hospital who need an uplifting presence. Around the community, Goelz participated in voter registration drives, served dinner to those who have no home to go to, aided in canned food drives and volunteered with Gator Tracks. She was recognized this year with the Gators Experience Athlete of the Year Award, which is given to the female student-athlete with the most engagement with the Gators Experience program in community service, leadership and career programming.

Shelby Walters, Graduate, Pitcher, Georgia

Since 2015, Walters has been an active member of Save a Lab, which is a dog-fostering service for mothers and puppies. In recent years, she has volunteered with the Miracle League and has devoted time with the Special Olympics at UGA. Walters spent time her freshman and sophomore years taking part in Glenwood Learning Adventure Days, tutoring students at local elementary schools in academia and Spanish to English. She participated in Project Backpack, distributing food to elementary students. Walters worked with inner city children on basic softball skills training at the Connect Training Center, and helped with basic skills training for local softball youth teams at Diamond Academy Sports Performance. She appeared on the 2021 All-ACC Academic Team and was a four-time member of the ACC Honor Roll. She earned her undergraduate degree in Evolutionary Anthropology & Biology from Duke in May 2022 and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Kinesiology – Exercise Physiology at Georgia.

Victoria Fragoso, Junior, Infield, Kentucky

Fragoso has volunteered over 50 hours community service to the Lexington area in her time as a Wildcat. She has logged hours with several different entities including Sayre FCA, Grace Christian Church, the Albany First Baptist Church, FCA, Geaux Teal, Amichi, The American Red Cross, God’s Pantry and the Kentucky Athletics Department. In the Lexington area, Fragoso has also devoted her time with God’s Pantry, where she helps to pack lunches for underserved communities within Lexington and brings them to local elementary schools for kids who are challenged financially. Additionally, she is heavily involved in the Kentucky Athletics FCA and works on UK financial meetings within the department.

Ali Newland, Junior, Outfield/Catcher, LSU

Newland leads the Tigers in community service hours this season. She most recently assisted with the Geaux Teal Ovarian Cancer Awareness Walk, which was held on LSU’s campus. Newland assisted with packing registration packets, walk logistics, and outreach with cancer survivors and family members of those who were unable to attend. Notable connections made with the community include youth softball clinics with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and assisting with a kindergarten field trip at Tiger Park in March. In August, she was a key contributor to the Basket of Hope efforts on campus. Newland also participated in the Thankful Tiger Drive in November. She has volunteered for the LSU Tiger Life “Service Socials” on campus during the fall and spring semesters. Newland is the LSU Softball representative on the SAAC committee at LSU. She was named to the 2022 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll and to the 2020-21 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll. An NFCA Scholar Athlete, Newland has been named to the Dean’s List every semester. She is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee at LSU. Newland  was one of two athletes chosen to represent LSU at the 2021 SEC Career Tour.

Tate Whitley, Fifth-Year Senior, Outfield, Ole Miss

During the holiday season, Whitley helped collect over 1,300 items and donated 107 baskets to families in need throughout the LOU community as part of the athletic department’s annual Adopt-A-Basket service project. She also helped lead the charge on Ole Miss’ annual Feed the Sip food drive, which collected 7,000 food items to donate to children in Tunica and Quitman Counties. This season, Whitley helped Ole Miss collect over 6,000 non-perishable food and hygiene items to donate to those who suffered loss during the tornados in the Mississippi Delta in March. She has given back to children in the Oxford-Lafayette community through initiatives such as Reading with the Rebels, visiting elementary classrooms to read to students and discuss the importance of good behavior and her experience as a student-athlete. Whitley also serves as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at Ole Miss, helping represent all athletes at the university and enhancing the student-athlete experience.

Jackie McKenna, Graduate, Catcher/Utility, Mississippi State

McKenna led the team in service hours this year, with the majority of her efforts focused on children in the community. She volunteered at a local trick-or-treating event in the fall, visited both a local elementary school and the Starkville Public Library to read to children and worked two sporting events for college students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Highlighted among those efforts was volunteering at the Special Olympics Egg Bowl flag football game between MSU and Ole Miss and assisting the pitchers in a wiffle ball game for students that were part of the MSU ACCESS program. Additionally, McKenna has spent time cleaning campus, packing necessity boxes at the United Way in Columbus, writing Valentine’s Day letters to residents of an assisted living facility and greeting students as they are dropped off at middle school. She has participated in two cancer awareness and fundraising walks. In October, McKenna was part of the Pink Dawg Walk on campus that benefited breast cancer survivors and research. In April, she and the Bulldogs participated in the Geaux Teal Walk which raised funds and awareness of ovarian cancer, which took the life of former Bulldog Alex Wilcox in 2018. In addition to her service activities, McKenna’s future career path and internships throughout her college career have been dedicated to serving her community. As a criminology major and the daughter of two members of law enforcement, McKenna hopes to pursue a career in that field following graduation.

Hannah McGivern, Senior, Outfield, Missouri

McGivern leads the Missouri softball team in community service hours. She has volunteered at the Thompson Center for Autism, the Downtown Optimist Club, and at the Mid-Continent Summer League Camp along with campus clean-up projects. McGivern has also volunteered her time with Special Olympics at the Missouri Outdoor Games Softball Tournament and served as a mentor for the Mizzou Youth Experience. McGivern is a member of Mizzou’s Navy ROTC who will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. Following graduation, she plans to serve in the military. In the classroom, McGivern has been named to the 2021 and 2022 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll and the 2019-20 First-Year SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Rachel Vaughan, Graduate Student, Pitcher, South Carolina

Vaughan has been a staple in the community during her five seasons with the Gamecocks. This spring, she spent time at Carver-Lyon Elementary reading to and interacting with students during Read Across America Day. Vaughan has worked with the local food bank, Harvest Hope, in packaging and handing out meals to those in need. She has volunteered at the Claude W. Smith School, being a test patient for students to gain experience with bed side manners and sonography skills. Vaughan has helped build houses with Habitat for Humanity, working on two different housing projects, including repairing porches and installing insulation. She has also served as a mentor to students at Joseph Keels Elementary. During Christmas, Vaughan takes the time to write cards to children who are in the hospital. 

Rylie West, Junior, Outfield, Tennessee

During her time on Rocky Top, West has spent her time away from the diamond volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and serving with Tennessee’s Community Holiday Meal. She assisted with Tennessee Athletics’ annual VOLoween night, which includes trick-or-treating around the athletic complex, face painting and playing games with children from the Knoxville community. West was also a member of UT’s VOLeaders Academy, going on a service trip this past summer to Rwanda. She is a two-time member of the Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll and a two-time Easton/NFCA Scholar Athlete.

Trinity Cannon, Junior, Infield, Texas A&M

Cannon served as a volunteer on the Mission of Hope trip to the Dominican Republic over the 2022 winter break, where they served food, painted houses and assisted with local projects. She has also been involved with SAAC and AggiesCAN, the nation’s largest student-athlete volunteer-run canned food drive.