It wasn’t long ago when Faith Hutchins was asked by her father Mark to narrow it down and come clean about her favorite sport.
Keep in mind that Hutchins is an athlete for all seasons at South Kingstown High School. As a senior, her busy itinerary includes soccer in the fall, basketball during the winter, and softball when the spring months roll around. She’s been a key contributor to wins – and championships – in all three.
She also doesn’t take playing any of them for granted.
Instead of picking one sport that would have left the other two fighting it out for second and third, Hutchins one day earlier this week explained why each sport holds special meaning to her.
“Soccer is the sport I get recognized for the most,” said Hutchins, a goalie who was one of the driving forces behind the Rebels capturing last fall’s girls soccer state title. This past January, she went to Baltimore to accept her 2019 All-American honor from the United Soccer Coaches organization.
“Basketball is the sport I have the most fun playing, while softball challenges me the most,” Hutchins delved further. “That’s how I broke them down. I really enjoy them all during the season. Out of season, I could pick up any one of those sports and have fun with them.”
Competing across various athletic disciplines has taught Hutchins that, “It’s a team sport regardless of the game. It’s just never about one person. It took me a while to figure that out. You also have to push through until the very end. Nothing else matters unless your teammates are focusing on the same goal. You want to get the job done no matter what.”
Her busy sports load has also been a key aid in how Hutchins approaches life when she’s off the field and away from the heat of competition.
“Obviously winning championships are nice, but it’s about the relationships you build with people along the way,” said Hutchins.
Make no mistake about it: Hutchins has the art of capturing titles down pat. Dating back to last spring, she’s been an integral piece of three SK squads that ended up as the last one standing. It’s reached the point where you can’t mention a successful Rebels team without referring to something that Hutchins did that left a noticeable imprint.
Go back to last June when South Kingstown found itself in a win-or-go-home situation in the Division II softball playoffs. Needing to beat Scituate twice, Hutchins in the season’s penultimate game singled, stole second base, advanced to third on an error, then scored on a wild pitch. It was one of two runs SK notched in a 2-1 win that forced a winner-take-all showdown for the D-II crown. The next day, Hutchins – the starting shortstop who typically bats third in the batting order – and the Rebels made school history with a 4-2 victory that clinched the first fast-pitch softball title in program history.
Fast forward a few months later with Hutchins standing her ground in goal as the South Kingstown girls soccer team defeated two-time state champ La Salle in the semis before knocking off Cumberland in the finals. In both games, Hutchins didn’t allow a single shot to slip past her.
The hat trick of championship bliss was completed last month on the hardwood at Rhode Island College. Just like the previous two titles that Hutchins was fortunate enough to experience, the basketball confrontation with La Salle – with the Division I title hanging in the balance – was yet another reminder that nothing was going to be willingly handed over to South Kingstown. The Rebels were going to have to earn it.
With 7:22 left, La Salle held a 43-33 lead. When the final buzzer sounded, the tables were turned completely in SK’s favor after rallying to win, 49-46. It was a victory that led to additional recognition. This past Monday, the R.I. Interscholastic League’s Principals’ Committee on Athletics voted unanimously to recognize the Rebels as 2020 state champs despite the open state tournament being halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Looking back at the comeback performance against La Salle, Hutchins says it’s quite simple – you’ve got to have faith even in the face of long odds.
“It was amazing, especially since we lost to them twice last year [in the divisional finals and again with the state title on the line],” said Hutchins, listed at 5-foot-9 and someone who routinely drew the assignment of defending the opposition’s top scoring threat. “To be able to pull it off was such a great accomplishment.”
“My own personal drive … I wanted to win in softball. I wanted to win in soccer. I wanted to win in basketball. I just wanted to make sure I led the team in the right direction. I believe I did that,” Hutchins added.
Ever the consummate leader, Hutchins wished to include members of SK’s senior class that joined her in the trenches in each sport. In softball, you have Eileen Byrne, Nina Byrne, and Emma MacIocio. In basketball, there was Sarah Sorlien, Hayden Hill, and Sydni Vesterholm. In soccer, the list includes Lauren Hubert, Claire Lidsky, Mary Lyons, Kathryn Madore, and Maggie Montle.
Upon graduating from South Kingstown, Hutchins will embark down the prep-school route that will take her to The Taft School, located in Watertown, Conn. If you think she’s going to narrow down her vast sports repertoire in an effort to strengthen her college recruiting portfolio, think again.
“I’m playing all three,” said Hutchins, an accomplished athlete regardless of the season.