LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Ask any of her coaches to give a one word answer about Samantha Proffitt, the first word that comes to mind is usually athlete. That has been the verdict of basketball, volleyball, and track coaches.
“She works so hard. She is just a strong, beast of an athlete,” North Laurel track coach Kevin Bradford said.
Proffitt’s athletic ability will soon be shared by the volleyball and track teams at the University of the Cumberlands.
Athletic ability made Proffitt a natural at every sport she tried.
“We always ran races in elementary school and I beat everyone,” she said.
Proffitt joined the high school track team as a seventh grader and Bradford could tell he had something special.
“Right away you could tell she was extremely athletic,” Bradford said.
Proffitt’s first sports were Wee Ball and playing basketball for her dad, Lee, in at the Optimist Club. She kept playing softball into middle school before switching to track. She continued to play basketball and also added volleyball in high school. Volleyball may have been the late addition to her sports portfolio, but it didn’t take long for Proffitt to realize she wanted to play in college.
“I always hoped since I started playing I would because I loved it so much. I really started looking into it my junior and senior years hoping I could go somewhere,” Proffitt said.
Assistant coach Chuck Shoemaker first saw Proffitt at a recruit day at University of the Cumberlands.
“We were able to see the effort she puts forward,” Shoemaker said.
The Lady Patriots are coming off one of their most successful seasons. Freshmen are most likely to play on the junior varsity squad, which finished 8-6 last season.
“My coaching philosophy is that everyone comes in with a level slate. We don’t have a specific position yet, but I could see her being a good outside hitter for us and possibly some back row as well. It’s really open-ended,” Shoemaker said.
It was Proffitt’s times in the sprint events that caught the eye of the Cumberlands’ track coaches.
“She had some times that were consistent with what we were looking for and she seems real coachable,” assistant track coach Jimmy Bryant said.
Bryant said 100 meter times in the 12 to 13 second range are good for freshmen at the NAIA level.
“This year we were a little weak on the sprinter side. On the women’s sprinter side we had two good ones, but one of them had a hamstring problem so we were trying to get good local talent down there,” Bryant said.
That doesn’t mean Proffitt will be limited to sprinting. Bryant could see her competing in heptathlons and pentathlons.
“She’s pretty good all around in the sprints and the field events,” Bryant said.
Proffitt currently ranks seventh in the state in pole vault and long jump. She ranks 16th in triple jump and 17th in high jump. She holds several records at North Laurel, including relays and pole vault.