Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Laura Bohning Steps Into Justin's World

Anyone taking a look through the record books of the Saint Louis Billikens' softball program is sure to encounter the name Laura Bohning more than once or twice. The program's career home run leader until she was unseated from the top spot last season, Bohning now stands in the top five of four statistical categories, and ranks in the top twenty in five other categories.

One of the finest hitters to put on a Bills uniform, Bohning helped lead the Billikens back to a position of annual relevance and a status as a perennial conference championship contender.

As excellent academically as she was on the softball diamond, Bohning twice earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 commissioner's honor roll. A versatile defender and a steady hitter, the righty enjoyed an excellent freshman campaign, then rebounded from a fallen sophomore year to end her career on even-higher notes.

Now an avid Crossfit competitor and pursuing a career in the medical field, Laura begins her clinical rotations next month and is scheduled to graduate and take her boards in 2016.

Continue reading below as she dishes on:
 ~ Her Billiken memories
 ~ Her favorite award she's received
 ~ Her predictions for the Billikens' championship chances in the next few seasons
 ~ Crossfit
 ~ Her plans for the future
 ~ and much more.

Justin’s World: How did you get started playing softball?
Laura Bohning: As long as I can remember, I have always been involved with sports in some way or another.  Like any other child, I got signed up for a variety of different activities, such as ballet, cheerleading, and soccer, before I found my true love in softball.  From coach pitch to fastpitch, over the years, softball became such an integral part of my life.  Looking back now and seeing all the time that was put into it and the sacrifices that my family made so that I was able to follow my passion, I am so incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in such an amazing sport, and be a member of the softball world which became my second family over the years. 
Justin’s World: What does it feel like to know that you’re going to be remembered as one of the best to wear an SLU uniform?
Laura Bohning: My goal at the beginning of my college experience was to get a great education from a great university, and to hopefully contribute to the softball program in a meaningful way.  Being a student-athlete and balancing all of the responsibilities that come with that title was extremely challenging, but it was well worth it and, in many ways, helped me become the person I am today.  It was an honor to attend SLU and be a part of the softball program!

Justin’s World: What would you call your favorite memory or moment from your career?
Laura Bohning: Over the course of four years, there have been too many incredible memories and moments to limit them down to just one.  Being surrounded by a great group of talented young women, and being able to travel together, win together, and even lose together, allowed for the development of great friendships that will last a lifetime.  In terms of my favorite individual moment, it would have to be the first game of our away series at Rhode Island my senior season, when I hit two grand slams in the 7th inning.  This was an extremely special moment that would not have happened without my teammates, and pure good luck of going up to the plate twice in the same situation.  But the aspect that made it even more special for me was the fact that my parents, who made the long haul all the way from Arizona to watch the final weekend of conference play of my final season of collegiate ball, were able to witness this.  It could not have been more perfect, because none of this would have been possible without their endless love and support over the years.   

Justin’s World: Was playing pro or international softball after college something you ever considered or had an opportunity to pursue?
Laura Bohning: While quitting softball cold turkey after having played for the better part of my life was bittersweet, as well as a drastic lifestyle change, after graduation I had my sights set on completely different aspirations.  From a young age, I was always interested in the medical field, and during college I was able to shadow a variety of different health care professionals, which only served to intensify my interest.  After research into the field, I had learned about Physician Assistants, and knew that this was the career I wanted to pursue, so even before graduation I was already looking towards going back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  Between preparing my application and building my resume through working in the Emergency Department, it was difficult to find time to play softball as much as I would have liked, and there’s just no way I could have pursued any post-collegiate pro softball opportunities.  I do still play slowpitch when I can and while it’s not the same in terms of the level of competition, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to stay involved with the sport I love.

Justin’s World: Tell me what you’ve been up to since your playing career ended, both related to softball and otherwise.
Laura Bohning: After my final collegiate season was over, like every other former college athlete, the prospect of life without softball felt very daunting.  Although I enjoyed my time playing college ball and am so thankful for the many years I have been involved in the sport, being a member of the real world has been a welcome change of pace.  After graduation, I moved back to Arizona, took some additional college classes, obtained my EMT certification, and started a job working in the ER at a local hospital, to help me gain additional experience and knowledge as I pursued entrance into a Physician Assistant program to receive my Master’s degree.  I was accepted to Midwestern University in March of 2014 and started classes in June 2014.  I will begin my clinical rotations in July 2015 and will graduate and take my board exams in August 2016.  Even with a challenging schedule, I still try to carve some time out to play some slowpitch softball with some teams in the area.

Justin’s World: I know you’re a Crossfit athlete now; tell me what drew you in to that and how it compares to your workouts as a student athlete.
Laura Bohning: Being an extremely competitive person, I knew that I would need another outlet through which to channel my competitive nature.  That’s where Crossfit came in.  I started going the day after I got back to Arizona, and haven’t looked back since.  I truly wish that I had been exposed to this earlier in my softball career, as I believe I am stronger, faster, and overall a better athlete now than I have ever been.  I’ve always enjoyed working out, and in a way, Crossfit reminds me of training with the team again, as you perform workouts with and against other members of the gym, competing for the top scores.  I have been able to participate in Crossfit competitions, which always seem to give me the same butterflies in my stomach as I used to get before a game.  It’s definitely been a great addition to my life, and helped keep me sane among the countless hours of studying and classes.

Justin’s World: Give me your thoughts on the next few years for Bills softball. Do you think an A10 championship is a realistic goal for them?
Laura Bohning: Definitely!  They almost won conference last year, and this year’s team seemed to be another promising one.  With the addition of a lot of young talented players, a veteran pitching staff, and the addition of Chelsea Thomas and Ashley Fleming to the coaching staff in 2014, I think they are headed in the right direction to clinch the A10 Championship.  I wish them the best of luck!

Justin’s World: You’ve been the recipient of quite a few honors and awards during your career… do you have a favorite among them, or one that is particularly special to you?
Laura Bohning: Although I’m very proud of the awards that I have garnered for my athletic accomplishments on the field, I am also equally as proud of the awards I gained for my performances off the field, in the classroom.  Being able to achieve good grades while being an athlete definitely helped me get accepted into PA school.  Additionally, it was an honor to be named to the 1st Team All-Conference as well as the All-Championship Team as a conclusion to my collegiate career.  Although the final game of the final season was bittersweet, it was an amazing experience to make it to the tournament and a great way to conclude my career playing competitive collegiate ball surrounded by my incredible teammates.  

Justin’s World: Finish this sentence: If not for softball, ___________________________.
Laura Bohning: … I’d never be where I am at today.  If it weren’t for the hardships, the failures, the times I wanted to quit, as well as all the pain, sweat, blood and tears from over the years, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.  Softball taught me many things about the world and people around me, but most of all, it allowed me to learn about myself, and develop skills that would help me in the long run.  The perseverance, dedication, and time management that I developed through four years of trying to balance the responsibilities of being a student-athlete have carried over and apply to other areas of my life, and allow me to be successful at the things that I am passionate about. 

Justin’s World: Let’s say you were stranded on a deserted island, Robinson Crusoe-style, but you could take three things with you. No boats, no phones. What would you take?

Laura Bohning: Sunscreen, because anyone who knows me knows that even though I’m from Arizona, I don’t tan, only burn… to a crisp… with minimal sun exposure.  Swim goggles, so I could enjoy the marine life, as well as be able to catch my dinners. Lastly, probably a hackey sack.  It was tradition to play hackey prior to every softball game, both in high school and college, and would provide hours of entertainment.

1 comment:

  1. How do your pronounce her last name (bohning)?