Meet Katy Darnell: a Dual Sport Athlete at FSU


Katy Darnell finds herself in a different position from many of her peers on campus due to her time as a dual sport student-athlete at Fairmont State University. The Charleston, West Virginia native started at FSU in 2019 as a women’s basketball team member. She was excited that Fairmont State checked so many of her boxes when looking at different schools to attend post-high school. 

“The first reason was how I fell in love with Fairmont on my visit. The community was so accepting, and my basketball coaches were amazing.” Katy also mentioned having her siblings nearby at West Virginia University. Little did Katy know that she would also halso to play softball at Fairmont Statell at Fairmont State while continuing her time on the basketball team!

Katy has found much success in the classroom at Fairmont State. She has been a member of the Academicct team, gaining Mountain East Conference accolades for basketball and earning President’s or Dean’s List all semesters while at FSU. Katy will graduate with her bachelor’s degree with an Exercise Science major and a Nutrition minor this spring. She plans to finish her studies at Fairmont State while maintaining her master’s degree in Exercise Science, where she will graduate in the spring of 2024.

Following an “unforgettable basketball season,” Katy was named to the Mountain East Conference Second TeaIn addition, shehis past season. She gained the 2023 MEC Tournament Heart and Hustle Award, given to one player in the post-season competition. Darnell was also selected to be a USA Collegiate Strength and Conditioning All-American last year due to her leadership on the court and in the weight room. 

Katy recalled when she decided to return to softball after two years of not playing, which was a great decision since the softball team won the Mountain East Conference Tournament in 2022 with the help of Darnell.

“I would go watch my friends play softball, and seeing them out there made me miss the sport. I remember calling my parents, asking, ‘Do you think it would be a good idea for me to play softball again?’ They were so supportive and said they knew how much I missed it and how much I loved it.”

Katy stated tha she had to have a serious conversation with Stephanie Anderson, Fairmont State’s women’s basketball coach, to ensure taking up the second sport was okay. Katy said her coach told her, “If you feel like you have the time, I believe you, and I will support you.”

The senior athlete reflects on the challenges presented by being a busy student-athlete who has to give twice the amount of dedication to her sports. She spoke about wishing she could be in two places at once when her seasons overlap in practices, games, and so on. With that being said, Katy consistently feels supported by both of her sets of teammates. She also stated that the transition from sport to sport isn’t too difficult, thanks to the two coaching staffs she is involved with. 

“I think both of my head coaches are creating a winning culture, where they respect the athlete and their contribution to the team,” stated Darnell.

Katy Darnell has learned so much about herself as a person, an athlete, and her faith.

“Personally, I have really learned to become more grateful with the time I have playing the sports I love. Athletically, I have enjoyed the time and training that goes into each sport, even though they are very different. I have learned to take advantage of every opening in my schedule, making room to study and caring for my body through rehab or treatment. Most importantly, I have learned to lean into my faith and trust the Lord to provide and to help me keep a healthy balance.”