East-West Girls Soccer: Future bright for All-Star Baucom
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By David Shaw
GREENSBORO — Like a good fastball, destiny doesn’t always travel in a straight line — and West Rowan graduate Allison Baucom provides a luminous illustration.
She scored 98 career goals, was a three-time all-state selection and expected to take her impeccable academic record to a Division I program next month. Instead, she’ll stay local and suit up for Michael Swan’s Catawba squad.
“For years I’ve been saying I wouldn’t go to Catawba,” she said during a reflective moment Tuesday night at UNC-Greensboro, where she participated in the annual NCAA East-West girls soccer match. “It’s too close to home. I’ve had so many games and practices there. I wanted to go somewhere different. But a lot of things that could have happened, didn’t. And I guess sometimes things happen for a reason.”
Baucom has become more than just an upper-echelon player with a sunny dispositon. She was rejected by UNC-Wilmington, her first choice, after being lured into the picture by famed coach Paul Cairney. And Charlotte, Pfeiffer and Lees-McRae showed luke-warm interest, but never worked out a deal. It seems she’s faced her first real disappointment — and landed on her feet.
“The recruiting process was brutal,” said Mike Baucom, Allison’s father and strong influence who challenged her to backyard races years ago. “It was a roller coaster ride.”
Her mother, Andrea, also felt the strain of finding a good fit.
“You almost have to hire an agent,” she joked. “But really, none of those schools had the right chemistry for Allison. We knew all along it work out the way it was supposed to. And Catawba offers her a great opportunity.”
So did playing with the all-stars, another opportunity that almost wasn’t. Baucom wasn’t added to the West team’s roster until Friday, when another player backed out and she was named as an alternate.
“Yeah, I just found out the other day when Coach (Nick) Brown called and asked if I’d be interested in doing it,” Baucom said. “I said ‘yeah’ and had to get all the paperwork in right away. I was happy to get the chance, but at the same time it was sort of a slap in the face. They didn’t pick me at the end of the season. I was kind of an afterthought.”
Now she knows how comedian Rodney Dangerfield felt. Accolades and awards have come in bunches. Respect has not. That surprises Brown, her coach at West the past four seasons.
“This girl has an amazing work ethic,” he said. “She works incredibly hard and you never get any negative attitude. She’s a wonderful, wonderful, positive hard-working kid. I could speak for days about her.”
Among Baucom’s accomplishments are four straight all-NPC, all-Region 7 and all-county selections. She’s also been named the conference and region Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
Oh, and don’t forget about her 4.3 grade-point-average.
“She’s just a sweet kid,” said her mom. “She’s very driven, very focused. She has the best time-management skills of anybody I know. She could go to school all day, go to practice and get home at 10:30 — and still be an honor student.”
Baucom also has a knack for finishing scoring plays, though she’ll argue that point. This past spring she scored 32 goals for the Falcons, including eight in West’s three postseason games.
“I’m really blessed to even be here,” said Baucom, who plans to major in Biology at Catawba and pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. “I didn’t get everything I wanted, but a lot of people would kill to be where I am.”