In her final two seasons at CNU, Jen put up twenty-five home runs and a batting average of .367 over the two years. As big-hearted as she is talented & gorgeous, Jen spent some time in
Central America earlier this year teaching
underprivileged children who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to
Q: How did you get your start playing softball?
I started when I was about 5 years old playing co-ed baseball. I was the only girl on the team at the time. At around age 9, I switched to softball for recreation leagues, and quickly became part of our travel ball team in Williamsburg (Williamsburg Starz). I obviously continued playing all through middle school and high school (Bruton High School), and then moved onto CNU. I also switched travel ball teams in high school and began playing for a Poquoson team called the Backriver Surge.
Q: Rarely are two-sport athletes highly successful in both of their chosen sports, but you are an exception to that rule. You led the 2010 Captains women’s basketball squad to the Sweet 16, and were an offensive softball star in your final two years at CNU. Tell me what it was like for you to be able to play both sports at such a high level.
I was so happy with my decision to come to CNU and play both sports. Even though I eventually chose to leave the basketball program, I wouldn't have taken back my decision to play both. I was able to build connects with athletes all over campus, and not be limited to just the softball program. I also learned a great deal from both teams and the coaches especially. Both coaches went about things so differently that it helped to evolve me in different areas of both my basketball game and softball game. Additionally, I was very blessed to be a part of two amazing programs. I was lucky to have been to a sweet 16 undefeated run with basketball that year, and equally blessed to have eventually gone with softball to two world series tournaments, and then to finish runner-up in 2011! I learned so much about what it takes to be a championship team in my time at CNU.
Q: What would you call the proudest moment of your athletic career?
I have a lot of memories that I'm fond of throughout my career, but I think my all time favorite memory was my walk off grand slam against Emory University in the Regional semi-final in 2011. All game I hadn't gotten a single hit! I was beyond flustered, and the game was going on forever! We were in the bottom of the 13th inning and I was up with two outs, I believe, and I crushed one to dead center field. I don't think I've ever run around the bases so fast in my entire life haha! That was something I don't think I will ever forget. I finished the game one for seven with 5 RBI. I hit a sac fly in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game, and then hit the grand slam.
Q: Now that your playing career is done, is coaching softball something you might like to pursue in the future?
Yes, I would absolutely coach. I'm currently student teaching at Heritage High School in Newport News, VA. I was considering applying for the coaching position there this year, but eventually decided against it because of my lack of free time. In the future, I'm hoping to get a job either at the high school I teach at or at a college some where.
Q: If you could step into the box against any pitcher, active or retired, who would it be and why?
Cat Osterman. I watched her so much growing up, and since I used to be a pitcher, she was definitely someone I idolized. I am also very curious to see I could hit some of her spins.
Q: I’m gonna have you put on the analyst cap for a minute. The Crimson Tide are the defending champs, but they lost a large senior class after last season. Who do you think are the favorites to win the WCWS championship this year?
I'm always impressed by the Florida Gators. They have a great pitcher in Hannah Rogers and I'm impressed by the big bat of Kelsey Stewart. As a freshman she's already coming in leading the team in BA and homeruns which is very difficult to do.
Another team I'm constantly rooting for is UNC. I went to a lot of UNC softball and basketball camps growing up, so I'm a huge fan of Coach Papa. I also think that Lori Spingola will make some big moves this year. She's a pitcher to watch in my opinion. Even though UNC may not be an expected contender for the title, I always have hope that they can get further and further each year.
Q: You recently spent some time in South America; if you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
That's a heavy question. I have so many places in mind that I would want to go. Lately I've been looking into a lot of trips to India, Europe (Italy and Greece, primarily), and Alaska or Canada. I have a fascination for doing research on different types of animals, so I've been looking into research opportunities observing whales and polar bears up North. Greece and Italy would be obviously to experience the art and food. India also has research opportunities to observe tigers, but I also am fascinated with Hindu religion, so that'd be something I'd want to learn more about.
Q: If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
I wouldn't trade places with anyone I don't think. I've never really thought of anyone that I'd rather be than myself. I think I ruined this question for you a little bit haha sorry
Q: Who is your hero or role model, and how has that person’s influence affected your play on the field?
My grandfather is without a doubt my hero and role model. He passed away my sophomore year of high school from lung cancer. He was someone who supported me no matter what I did, and he always pushed me to be the best I could possibly be, especially on the basketball court and softball field. In my life, I always try to make decisions that he would be proud of. One of the saddest parts of my life is that he didn't have the chance to see me play basketball my senior year of high school, and he wasn't able to share in the joy of my college career.
Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could have three things, what would they be? Boats and phones are off-limits.
Flint, obviously (haven't you seen Survivor). Machete. And in a perfect world, I'd have my iPod so I could have an endless playlist of Sublime and any country music.
Q: If a movie was going to be made about your life, who would you cast in the role of you? What would you title your film?
Blake Lively, I've been told we have a similar laugh, I can't really tell though haha