Symphoni Shomo recently made the first “grown-up” decision of her young life.

The Southeastern Oklahoma State University softball star saw her senior season ended prematurely when concerns about COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all NCAA spring championships.

There could be an opportunity for Shomo to return for one final season at the NCAA Division II school. But instead, she’s choosing to continue her chosen path of attending nursing school at Rogers State.

“My mom’s a nurse. That’s been my goal, even when I was in high school,” Shomo said from her hometown of Tahlequah. “I worked at (Hastings Hospital) in high school just to try to get the feel of it and see if I wanted to do this career. I’ve loved it ever since.

“I had everything planned out. I was going to finish playing softball in May and start my career.”

Southeastern coach Ron Faubion visited a Tahlequah Sequoyah tournament eyeing a different second baseman during a recruiting trip. He left the event focused on signing Shomo.

“She’s a great young lady who will graduate on time,” Faubion said. “She was the first one I reached out to when they said they’d give out an extra year of eligibility if the kids wanted to. But she’s on track to graduate. She’s already been accepted to nursing school. So she needs to go on.”

Shomo, a middle infielder, was a three-time all-conference player and, just recently, she was named to the Great American Conference’s all-decade team in softball. A lead-off hitter, she finishes just seven stolen bases from the conference’s career record.

The first bad news came on the morning of March 12 when a road series at Arkansas-Monticello was canceled. The team was released for the weekend with a goal of returning to campus for a Wednesday practice.

Then, hours later via social media, Shomo learned her college career was over when the NCAA announced the cancellation of all spring championships.

Shomo could never have predicted that her final game would be a 6-2 home loss to Harding on March 7, ending a competitive softball career that she began when she was 4 years old.

Shomo’s last at-bat was a hard-hit ball.

“We were down in the bottom of the seventh after winning the first three games in the series,” Faubion said. “She hits a shot to right-center and the right fielder goes over, reaches up and snags it. If not, she has an inside-the-park (home run) and that would have put us back in the game.”

Shomo’s focus will turn to helping develop her 11-year-old sister, Laci, who is a rising softball player.

“She’s so hard-headed and we kind of bicker back at each other. She’s a mess,” Symphoni jokes with a special laugh reserved for sisters.

Shomo always will have fond memories of her second family at Southeastern. She got emotional when talking about what she will miss the most about her time in Durant.

“I’m going to miss being around my teammates the most,” she said. “I made so many friends throughout all of these years.

“It’s kind of difficult to step away from it, but I think it’s time.”

Eric Bailey

918-581-8391

eric.bailey@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @ericbaileyTW

Sports Writer

Eric covers the University of Oklahoma football and men’s basketball teams. A Haskell Indian Nations University graduate, he has been a member of the Tulsa World sports staff for 12 years. Phone: 918-581-8391