Q and A With WashU Softball Seniors

Q and A With WashU Softball Seniors

By Chris Mitchell
Assistant Athletic Director for Communications 

 The Washington University in St. Louis softball team will honor its three seniors Saturday prior to its doubleheader against Monmouth College – Brooke Hofer, Amanda Kalupa and Annie Pitkin.

This group has helped lead the Bears to a 127-52 overall record, good for a 70.9 winning percentage, and four with 30 or more wins. During this time the Bears won the 2014 and 2015 UAA Championship, and made three NCAA Tournament appearances.

"BAA" sat down with Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Chris Mitchell to discuss the past four years at WashU.

What made you choose to come to WashU?
Brooke Hofer: After coming on my recruiting trip the fall of my senior year, I knew that WashU was the perfect fit for me. The biggest factor that helped make my college decision extremely easy was the type of people on the softball team and just at WashU in general. As soon as I stepped on to campus and started to hang out with some of the older girls, I knew that I could see myself spending the next four years of my life with those type of people. Not to mention that WashU offered the challenging academic setting that I was looking for along with the opportunity to continue playing the sport that I love.

Amanda Kalupa: I came to WashU because I was able to get an exceptional education while still playing the sport I love. There is no other place that combines education, athletics, and excellent teammates like WashU.

Annie Pitkin: The combination of top notch academics and the opportunity to play for a national championship. 

How do you balance your schedule between softball and school?
BH: I struggled with this a little bit my freshman year, so I definitely used that year as a learning experience. I don't really work well (or at all, to be honest) while we are traveling to games, so for the most part I just had to get things done ahead of time. This way I was able to focus on school during the week and then solely focus on softball when we traveled on the weekends and I think that strategy really helped me perform well in both areas.

AK: Prioritizing. I think it is really important to know what you need to get done now, what you need to get done today and what can be done later. Also, I've found it helpful to use softball as a break to have some fun when school gets stressful. 

AP: One word: flexibility.  Some days you're up at 6am for practice and doing homework after class until 10pm. Other days you're up at 6am to do homework because you've got practice after class. 

What have you learned from playing under head coach Leticia Pineda-Boutte?
BH: From day one, Coach Let has taught us to celebrate the little things and to enjoy every moment on the field. Luckily for us, we get to play almost 50 games in a season so dwelling over something that happened in a previous game, or even at-bat, isn't worth the time. Coach has done a great job teaching us to have short-term memory and being able to do so made the past four seasons so much more enjoyable than I would've ever imagined.

AK: I've learned to be a more well-rounded player. I've also learned the importance of communication and leadership skills both on and off the field. 

AP: To be honest and play fearlessly. She has taught me how to be confident and how to celebrate all the little things on and off the field.  

What is your favorite softball memory at WashU?
BH: Winning the UAA championship my junior year and then walking (or I guess I should say dancing) through the lobby of the hotel blasting "Grillz" by Nelly.

AK: The UAA Championship down in Florida. Over the past four years, these games have been great ways for us to bond as a team and play great competition. I really think that these games help set the tome for our team each season. 

AP: There are way too many to pick one. Including but not limited to: 2013 Athlete Formal, every time we beat Emory, beating Luther at regionals, baseball, UAA championships, bus rides and airports, bird feed and writing children's books. 

What are your future plans upon graduation from WashU?
BH: I am moving back home to Tinley Park, Ill., (mom and dad are super excited) and working for PepsiCo in Munster, Ind., as a Sales Management Associate.

AK: I will be attending the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay. 

AP: Option 1: Playing professional softball; Option 2: Upon graduation Annie will pack up all of her personal belongings and drive away; Option 3: Annie plans on pursuing a job at NASA as a physicist in hopes of fulfilling her dream to become an astronaut. She would like to note that if anybody in the stands today has a connection to NASA please contact her after the games; Option 4: Upon graduation Annie plans on living on as a college graduate for the rest of her life.