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'It-factor' drove Laughman as multi-sport star

The three-sport athlete led Delone to the state playoffs multiple times in volleyball, basketball and softball

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Playing three sports in high school can be a lot for some kids to handle.

For Katie Laughman, it was never enough.

The Delone Catholic senior, who starred in volleyball, basketball and softball the past four years, still thinks about all the sports she could've played if it was possible to be in two places at once.

"I really wish I could run track because I love to run," Laughman said. "I'd love to play soccer again because I did that when I was younger. And I wish I could play football too."

Delone Catholic fans never got to see Laughman score goals or catch touchdowns, but they sure saw her do a lot. From running her team's offense as the setter in volleyball, to playing point guard on the basketball court, to smoking line drives and gobbling up ground balls at third base in softball, Laughman did it all.

The Millersville volleyball commit also helped her teams win. Delone Catholic reached the PIAA playoffs multiple times in each of her three sports the past four years, and captured YAIAA (volleyball), District 3 (softball) and PIAA (volleyball) titles.

Laughman didn't always score the most points, but she was usually the one setting up her teammates and keeping them on track. That quality endeared her to both teammates and coaches.

"She had an ability to figure out any situation," Delone Catholic volleyball coach Jason Leppo said. "I see the same thing when I watch her play basketball and softball. She has that prowess, that it-factor, you just can't rattle the kid."

A three-sport captain her senior year, Laughman will be the first to tell you that being a vocal leader didn't come naturally to her. A self-described shy person, she struggled at times to speak her mind on the court.

But it's hard to be a setter or a point guard if you don't shout instructions. A sophomore starter in both volleyball and basketball, Laughman was frequently encouraged by Leppo and Squirettes' basketball coach Gerry Eckenrode to speak up. As her career progressed, she steadily became more vocal.

"I don't think I really embraced (being vocal) but I got better at it," Laughman said. "It was a bit of an adjustment because I don't like to yell at people. My coaches always told me to open my mouth more because in the positions I played you have to take control and that made me a better leader."

She may have been quiet, but Laughman never had trouble being competitive. She developed her desire to win while attending Immaculate Conception School in New Oxford, and playing sports with her older sister Deanna only made her more competitive.

When she got to Delone, Laughman still considered some of her new teammates her rivals from when they were growing up. Now, those girls have become some of her best friends.

"Honestly, in grade school we were like, 'we have to beat Immaculate,' it was a huge rivalry," said Lily Singleton, who attended Annunciation School and played volleyball and basketball with Laughman at Delone. "Freshman year there's a lot of competition and we were still trying to scope each other out. But now she's been one of my best friends for a really long time.

"She's a phenomenal teammate and always there to give you a pat on the back, on and off the court."

After a terrific senior season in which she helped lead Delone Catholic to the YAIAA playoffs in all three of her sports, Laughman's career ended when the Squirettes softball team was eliminated by Kutztown in the District 3 semifinals at Millersville, where her collegiate days will start in the fall.

Though sad to see it all end, Laughman is looking forward to playing college volleyball. And she's already found another way to get involved with sports.

Laughman, who's planning on double majoring in elementary and special education, has a summer job in which she teaches local kids how to play baseball and softball. She hopes to one day work with kids and be a coach.

"I still feel like I'm a kid at heart," Laughman said. "I like being around kids and if I can teach them something I love hopefully they can love it too."

Those who've coached Laughman believe her personality makes her well-suited for that role. That same personality is the thing they'll miss the most about her.

"It all goes back to even-keeled calmness that she has to her," Leppo said. "She's one of those kids everybody will like. Her laugh is hysterical. If you’re in a bad mood and you hear her laugh, you’re going to start laughing."

Katie Laughman career highlights 

  • Helped lead Delone Catholic to a district title in softball and league and state titles in volleyball. 
  • Was a four-year varsity starter in softball and three-year starter in volleyball and basketball. 
  • Will be continuing her volleyball career next year at Millersville University.