• Lillie Burke

Carroll and Vaught: Nursing an NCAA bid

For Belmont women’s basketball players Katie Carroll and Torie Vaught, there is never enough time.

Between nursing classes and basketball practices, the two have had extremely busy careers at Belmont, and, as they near graduation in May, they’re realizing they don’t have much of that little time left.

“It’s so exciting but it’s intimidating. You just don’t feel like you’re ready, but in reality– when we go back and think about it– we’ve learned so much, and I think we are definitely prepared and we’re definitely excited about it with graduation right around the corner,” said Vaught.

When the two players met at freshman orientation, Vaught and Carroll knew they had a tough job ahead of them.

“We’re just now realizing how doing basketball and nursing has been such a commitment, and I guess we haven’t really given ourselves enough credit,” said Carroll.

The duo said they both endured a little trial and error when it came to time management, but they eventually figured it out.

“Some days you have to give up that nap to study because you know in a couple of hours you have to go to practice and you’re not going to have time to study, so it’s just been a really big time commitment,” said Vaught.

Not only did they have to schedule their time outside of class for homework, but they have to fit practice in between classes and 12-hour clinicals proves to be a difficult task as well.

Sometimes they missed practice, but they always made up the lost time.

“A lot of times, the day that we have off that week we’ll come in with an assistant coach and get our own little workout in and get shots up,” said Carroll.

Vaught said she wishes she could be there with the team but has to stay focused and push herself individually while practicing on her own.

“It stinks because you want to be there with the whole team. You want to do what they do and be able to contribute your time with them but they understand,” she said.

As graduation approaches, Carroll said they have to try to remain focused on the current task: win an Ohio Valley Conference championship for basketball.

“I think right now a lot of our main focus is basketball and just finishing this last year out with our team,” she said.

“And finishing with a bang,” Vaught interrupted.

Thinking about their dwindling days at Belmont, Carroll has mixed emotions about finishing school and her basketball career.

“We’re really starting to prepare for post graduation. But at the same time, we’re still at the end of something we’ve done for 15-plus years,” she said.

Vaught agreed.

“It’s coming to an end for something that’s been our identity and been our life for so long, but at the same time it’s also the end of a chapter of our lives and we get to start a new one,” she said. “Which is kind of like anxiety, but it’s an exciting anxiety.”

Carroll and Vaught also said they wouldn’t have made it this far on their own.

“I definitely don’t think I could’ve made it without her here with me,” said Vaught.

Whether it was studying for an exam on the bus while traveling to a road game or going to the gym after a long shift at the hospital to shoot extra reps, they were there lean on each other while enduring a difficult but worth-while four years.

“Both of our goals was to do nursing school and to graduate in four years while playing a collegiate sport, which is really hard to be done,” said Vaught. “The fact that we are there, and we’ve practically done it, it’s just the greatest feeling because we did what we set out to do.”

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