Crompton winds up a Tornado

Owen senior’s softball career continues in Brevard

Fred McCormick

Bria Crompton will walk across the stage in Warhorse Stadium on Saturday, June 10, to collect her diploma for the ceremonial end to her high school education. Graduation recognizes the hard work that Crompton, and her fellow Owen High School graduates, have put in over the past four years.

But just 10 days prior, surrounded by family, friends, teammates and coach Jenny Johnson, Crompton’s focus was on her softball future with Brevard College.

Crompton played in 37 games for the Warlassies as a junior and senior, developing a reputation at third base as a sure-handed defensive player. She was one of two Warlassies to appear in the Powerade State Games last summer (Caitlyn Ledford was the other).

“She has a solid glove and a really good arm,” Johnson said. “She hardly had any errors last season, and when she’s at the plate she gets on base.”

For Crompton, the opportunity to play college softball is a “dream come true,” according to her mother, Belinda Branch.

“I’m extremely proud of her,” Branch said. “She’s been playing since she was four.”

A roster spot on the Tornados is the culmination of “a lot of hard work,” according to Crompton, who also played volleyball and basketball for Owen.

But softball has always been her first love.

“I started with Joey (Valencia) and Heath (Tweed) in 8U (age 8 and under) and they taught me the basics and what I needed to know,” Crompton said. “And having the opportunity to go to college and keep playing the sport that I love really shows how hard work can pay off in the end.”

Dedication to the sport extends beyond the softball field, according to Crompton.

“It starts with your education,” she said. “You have to focus on your grades and stay active in school to have the opportunity to play.”

Crompton learned about a softball camp at Brevard College from a former Owen teammate. It was there she met Tornados head coach Bob Lowe.

“He pulled me to the side and said he wanted me on the roster next year,” Crompton said. “And that’s when I decided I wanted to go to Brevard. It’s a small school and it’s close, so I can come home and my parents can come out and watch me play.”

Off the field, Crompton brings a good work ethic to program at Brevard, according to Johnson.

“She works hard, she’s level-headed and mature,” Johnson said of Crompton. “She’s a really good leader, she doesn’t get involved in drama, she has her goals and she wants to achieve them.”

Last fall Crompton’s goal was to develop and write, as her senior project, an article for The Black Mountain News (senior projects are a requirement for graduation in Buncombe County). While finishing her senior season in volleyball and preparing for basketball season, Crompton developed a story that looked at up-and-coming football players in the Swannanoa Valley and how they could impact the varsity program at Owen High School. Here is an excerpt from that story:

The Owen High School varsity football team has struggled under head coach Nathan Padgett, going 2-18 in his first two seasons on the job. While fans of the program hope for better days ahead, those with knowledge of football in the Swannanoa Valley know just how bright the future could be for the Warhorses.

Two teams provide a clear view of the future of the varsity football program. One is the junior varsity team at the high school, and the other is the recent Super Bowl champion Midget division team of the Warhorse Youth Football and Cheer organization.

The junior varsity team is fresh off of a 6-4 season. A 0-2 start gave way to a four-game winning streak and a big win, according to second-year head coach Clint McElrath.

“We beat Reynolds for the first time in 12 years,” he said.