After an acceptance call from West Point Academy last week, Destin’s Rachel Dehlinger packed her cleats and glove and left for New York Saturday.
Dehlinger, who got her start in Destin Little League, and moved on to play for the Destin Middle School Marlins as well as the Fort Walton Beach Vikings, has received a full-ride to play softball for the West Point Black Knights.
"It's a little nerve-racking," said Rachel Thursday evening before leaving town. "I'm scared … don’t know what to expect, but I'm excited."
Earlier in the year, Rachel had committed to play for Birmingham Southern, thinking any hopes of getting accepted at West Point were out the door.
However, when she received an email two weeks ago asking if she was still interested in playing softball, she jumped at the chance — after talking it over with family.
"I just want to play ball," Rachel said.
Her parents went through a lot of emotions.
"Our heads are still spinning," said her dad Pat.
"I've got a lot of feelings" about the move, he said. Nevertheless, "We're extremely proud of her going."
Pat said he thought the challenge of West Point and the history behind the academy was all good for Rachel.
Getting a scholarship to West Point is "like getting a golden ticket with a degree," he said. "This wasn't on our radar scan, but when West Point comes knocking you answer.”
"It's a great education and a good opportunity," Rachel added. "It's hard to pass up."
Although West Point in New York is a far cry from Birmingham Southern in Alabama, Rachel was ready to go.
"It's going to be a long car ride, but it's worth it," she said.