Former Forrest Lady Rocket standout softball player Laura Mealer has always had dreams of playing softball at a Power 5 school, specifically at Tennessee. After the conclusion of the 2022 season, …
Former Forrest Lady Rocket standout softball player Laura Mealer has always had dreams of playing softball at a Power 5 school, specifically at Tennessee.
After the conclusion of the 2022 season, everything lined up perfectly for Mealer to transfer to Tennessee.
“There were a few different things that lead to my decision to transfer from MTSU. Playing Power 5 has always been my dream, and the University of Tennessee specifically has always been my dream school. Another big factor was the fact that I want to attend law school after college. MTSU does not have a law school, and UT-K has a wonderful law school,” she said.
With the NCAA’s transfer portal, Mealer made her transfer official earlier this summer.
MTSU had quite the season, winning the Conference USA tournament and qualifying for the Alabama regional, where the Blue Raiders saw their season come to an end to the region host.
But one team that forged on to the Women’s College World Series was Tennessee, and the draw of playing for a World Series participant was a major draw for Mealer.
“Tennessee did indeed have a fantastic year, and that definitely played a role in my final decision. Every girl that wants to play college softball wants the opportunity to play in the Women's College World Series, and I felt as if Tennessee puts their University and softball program in a great position to accomplish that,” Mealer said.
Fitting into a college environment is difficult for any student-athlete, but transferring to another school after fitting in for a few years brings about its own challenges.
“I have already been in college for two years, so I already have a little bit of an understanding of what I am going to do. I honestly think that my biggest challenge will just be that I am moving a little bit further from home. I'm not super far from home, but I was less than an hour away from home at MTSU. My family has always played a big role in my athletic career, so that will be slightly different,” Mealer said.
Mealer made her impact with MTSU, making the C-USA All-Conference First Team, the C-USA Championship All-Tournament Team, and the Tuscaloosa Regional All-Tournament team.
She led the Blue Raiders in batting average with a whopping .388 and had 12 home runs and 57 RBIs to her credit.
She also had the third most doubles in all of Division I softball with 78.
Even with such an impressive resume built over the first two years of her college career, Mealer knows nothing is given and expects to fight for playing time with the Lady Vols.
“In sports, nothing is guaranteed especially playing time, so I always go into things knowing that I have to work extremely hard. I personally always feel like I am fighting for a spot in the lineup, and that keeps me motivated to continue to work hard,” she said.
Mealer has been a life-long sports fan, stretching back to her earliest days playing t-ball.
While she played plenty of sports throughout her youth, she learned early on, softball was her true passion.
“I have always loved everything about sports, specifically softball and basketball. I started off in t-ball just like everyone else, but I quickly fell in love with softball as I got older. I played every season every year as soon as I was old enough to play, and I did the same with basketball. I was pulled up as an eighth grader to play high school basketball and softball,” she said.
Like her softball career, Mealer was an impact player on the hardwood for the Lady Rockets as well and has earned awards virtually every stop along the way leading up to her transfer to Tennessee.
“I ended up being a 1,000-point scorer in basketball, and I finished my high school softball career with two state championships and one state runner up. I went to MTSU for my first two years of college where I earned several personal awards such as C-USA First team, Tuscaloosa All Region Team, and many others. My team also won the C-USA championship as the No. 6 seed this year, and that was pretty special. I now have signed to play with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to finish my degree, eligibility, and compete for a chance to win a national title,” she said.
With the culture and experience of the Lady Vols reaching the College World Series, Mealer hopes to add to an already potent Tennessee roster.
“I want to be part of a team with a great cultural environment, and by spending time with players and coaches at UT, I feel as if they really have that. I want to have fun, and I want to be pushed to be my best on and off the field. I want to compete every single day. I want to win the SEC and have a chance to play for a national title. The team last year had a wonderful season, and most of the team is returning again this year. With that being said, nothing is guaranteed, so I expect us to outwork everyone else,” she said.