Carlie Scupin Column

CARLIE’S SCOOP: Passing of James Madison’s Lauren Bernett significantly impacts Wildcats

Hello Wildcat fans,

Lauren Bernett’s passing had a massive impact on our entire team, as I’m sure it did for the rest of college softball. It was deeply upsetting and hard to process for a lot of us. We are fortunate to have an amazing sports psychologist team, who we were able to talk to and open up with about how we felt about the situation, helping us make sense of what was going on and process our emotions. Our meeting with our sports psychologists was a team decision and I’m proud of the girls for taking that step and thankful to the sports psychologists for helping us through that difficult time. It was hard on all of us and we’re grateful to have such an amazing team of sports psychologists and support staff behind us; and I am proud that we were able to come together as a team and help each other through that time.


Across college softball, teams have shown their support for Lauren and her family in their own creative ways. To memorialize Lauren, during last weekend’s games we had a moment of silence during our pregame introductions against Fresno State, we all wore purple ribbons, and had Lauren’s number painted on the field. The loss of Lauren has cut the entire community deeply, highlighting the importance of mental health in college athletics. College athletes are under immense pressure to perform, not only in their sport, but in the classroom as well.

Carlie Scupin with the “Stronger Together” sticker on her battling helmet (Arizona Athletics photo)

Most critics of college athletes don’t realize what it takes to be a college athlete. They take for granted the fact that aside from being an athlete we are full-time students and young adults with lives. It is hard enough to keep up with the daily burden of attending class and turning in homework on time, regardless of the long practices after class and the workouts in the early morning before class. It is easy to judge an athlete by what you see on the field, but it is rare that it is merely a bad outing that is the result of a poor performance. There are often things that go on behind the scenes that contribute to an athlete’s performance; and athletes already put an overwhelming amount of stress on themselves to perform without the outside pressure applied from fans and coaches.

All college athletes have worked their entire lives to play the sport they love at a collegiate level. We should not have to sacrifice our mental health to play the sport we love.

Carlie Scupin is a standout first baseman with the Arizona Wildcats under new coach Caitlin Lowe. She is a native Tucsonan recruited by legendary coach Mike Candrea since she was in middle school. She is a 2020 graduate of Tucson High School. Last season as a freshman, Scupin was a Pac-12 All-Freshman selection and an NFCA All-West Region third-team pick. As a junior at Tucson High, she was named the 2019 Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year. She was also selected to the USA Today All-America second team in 2019. She hit 44 home runs while hitting .623 during her high school career, which was cut short her senior season of 2020 due to COVID-19.

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