Round and round the bases she goes — where she’ll end up nobody knows.

That phrase could easily be applied to Niagara Falls senior shortstop and tri-sport (tennis, basketball and softball) star athlete Emily Thompson.

Thompson, a monstrous hitter, can’t seem to make up her mind on a college and has only a week left to decide.

“I was down to UMBC (University of Maryland at Baltimore County) and Gannon and I visited Gannon last week and wasn’t too happy, but I still don’t know,” Thompson said at last weekend’s North Tonawanda Tournament.

UMBC, a Division I school seems to be a practical fit for Thompson, as the Retrievers lose five seniors and already boast a trio of players from New York state.

According to Niagara Falls coach Beth Bullock, UMBC would be a perfect match for Thompson and ultimately she believes her slugger will make the correct decision to attend the America East Conference school.

“I think that’s where she’s going to end up. That’s a good fit for her,” the coach said. “It’s a smaller school and I think she wants to go away. She will continue to develop down there and there’s no doubt she can play and contribute.”

It wasn’t always easy for Thompson, who not only played in the shadow of her sister Amanda, a 2005 graduate of NFHS, but also lacked patience at the dish.

“She’s been overly anxious up until this season,” Bullock said. “She was trying to make too much happen at one time.”

Thompson agreed and said that her newly found patience this season has made her into an even better ball player.

“I’ve grown a lot more patient this season,” she said. “I don’t even bother with the changeups, instead I sit on the fastball pretty much.”

Bullock added: “She’s been a lot more patient of a batter. I really think she’s learned that by waiting and becoming more patient she’s still going to be able to hit the ball hard every time. If she hits it hard, something is going to happen.”

Thompson’s progression can also be seen outside the statistics as she has grown as a team leader from her sophomore days.

“I came to varsity as a sophomore and was looking up to the seniors and always hanging out with them and now the role is reversed,” Thompson said. “It’s nice to be the leader on the team.”

Thompson is a team captain and well-respected among her teammates according to Bullock.

That leadership will be key as Niagara Falls is looking to stay near the top of the Niagara Frontier League standings with a core group of underclassmen after being senior-heavy a year ago.

“We have a lot of young kids that are going out looking to prove themselves this season,” Thompson said. “We lost a lot of seniors from last year. We have a lot of young girls fighting for spots and looking to do their best to help the team. I’m a senior know and a leader of this team, which definitely has a lot of potential.”

Contact Nate Beutel at 282-2311, Ext. 2262





BIO BOX please use mug in Hires/sports/master mug file/ thompson, emily

Emily Thompson

n GRADE: Senior

n HIGH SCHOOL: Niagara Falls

n SPORTS: Softball, basketball, tennis

n POSITIONS: Shortstop, forward, first singles

n COLLEGE CHOICES: University of Maryland at Baltimore County, which is offering a partial athletic scholarship, needs a decision by next Wednesday. Other options include Gannon, Brockport and St. John Fisher.

Bill McGrath 4/25/06

ALBERT T. MCCRACKEN JR./CONTRIBUTOR

TOSS UP: Niagara Falls senior shortstop Emily Thompson is always sure about her abilities on the field, but lately the slugger’s college decision has been a headache.

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