RUPERT — Some athletes expect to play college sports from an early age, or once they hit puberty, or at some point in their high school careers. At the very least, they dream of reaching the next level throughout childhood.

Tavia Cox was not one of those athletes.

“I never thought I had the potential to play past high school,” she said.

Despite her low expectations, Cox spent most of her childhood playing, enjoying and excelling at sports. Her passion and talent paid off, as she accomplished the seemingly impossible last month.

Cox, a senior at Minico High School, signed with the Blue Mountain Community College softball program a few weeks ago, and she held a signing ceremony at Minico this past Friday.

“Everything became super real right now,” Cox said on Friday. “I never thought that I could be this good at anything and actually be able to play something that I’ve loved ever since I was little.”

Cox transferred from Kimberly to Minico this past year. Soon after she reached Rupert, she realized that a college softball career was attainable. Her new coaches, Todd and Carol McGhie, were especially influential.

“They told me I have the type of ability where I could go further,” Cox said. “They reached out to a couple schools, and Blue Mountain heard about me, and they told me if I wanted to come and try out that I was able to.”

Shortly after Cox landed on Blue Mountain CC’s radar, the Timberwolves offered her a partial scholarship. In mid-February, she accepted their offer.

Cox plays catcher and outfield, and she plans to focus on catcher when she reaches Pendleton, Ore., in the fall.

“Ever since last year, I’ve really liked catcher,” she said. “That was another reason why I really liked the school, because I was given the opportunity to do the positions I wanted to do.”

Cox plans to attend a four-year college after her two-year stint at Blue Mountain CC. Where that might be, or even what she’ll study, are to be determined.

After all, she didn’t know she was good enough to be a collegiate athlete until this year.

“I plan on coming to Blue Mountain and continuing my education and having a great softball career,” she said.