Hawkeyes fired up ahead of 2020 campaign

Despite a 19-32 season last year, the Hawkeyes believe their offseason training has them primed to take big steps forward in 2020.

Iowa+infielder+Nia+Carter+slides+to+home+plate+at+the+Iowa+softball+game+against+Indian+Hills+at+Pearl+Field+on+Sunday%2C+October+6th%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Warriors+21-2.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Hawkeyes fired up ahead of 2020 campaign

Iowa infielder Nia Carter slides to home plate at the Iowa softball game against Indian Hills at Pearl Field on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Warriors 21-2.

Iowa infielder Nia Carter slides to home plate at the Iowa softball game against Indian Hills at Pearl Field on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Warriors 21-2.

Hayden Froehlich

Iowa infielder Nia Carter slides to home plate at the Iowa softball game against Indian Hills at Pearl Field on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Warriors 21-2.

Hayden Froehlich

Hayden Froehlich

Iowa infielder Nia Carter slides to home plate at the Iowa softball game against Indian Hills at Pearl Field on Sunday, October 6th, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Warriors 21-2.

Austin Hanson, Assistant Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story







When the ground thaws in Iowa, softball season begins.

While the ground has yet to fully unfreeze, Hawkeye softball is wasting no time preparing for the fast-approaching 2020 season.

“We’ve been working so hard this season,” freshman Nia Carter said. “We have like no days off. We come into practice with a positive mentality every time. This season is going to be really good for us.”

Iowa is rightfully looking toward the future, rather than back at the past. The Hawkeyes went 19-32 last year but learned many valuable lessons for the road ahead.

“I think my biggest thing, and as a team, we worked a lot on confidence,” senior Allison Doocy said. “A lot of [last year’s games] we could’ve won, but we just didn’t believe in ourselves. It was a transition period. I think we put that on ourselves too much and made that an excuse. This year, we know we’re confident and ready to take on any competitor, and we can beat just about anyone.”

Doocy and the Hawkeyes’ optimism might not be misplaced. *USA Today*’s latest softball top-25 poll only featured four Big Ten teams: No. 8 Minnesota, No. 14 Northwestern, No. 17 Michigan, and No. 25 Wisconsin. Ohio State was the only other team receiving votes in the Jan. 28 poll.

“We can compete against [Big Ten competition],” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “We beat Ohio State last year. We had some good games against Minnesota. We know we can compete with them on that level. I think we’re seeing we can compete in the Big Ten. It’s not such a scary thing this year. They are ready to go after it.”

The Hawkeyes’ newfound confidence sprouted in the most unusual of ways. Gillispie and her team credit the revitalization of Iowa softball’s culture and training to a Marine Corps exercise they participated in during the offseason.

“We brought in the program from the Marine Corps and worked with them on what it means to have somebody’s back,” Gillispie said. “I really see that program helping us this year. [We are] understanding toughness. They understand the difference between being injured and hurt, being able to work through when they’re in pain and having somebody’s back when they don’t feel up to it. They’re feeling like they have to give a little more of themselves for their teammates.”

Sophomore Kit Rocco is new to the Hawkeye softball program. The Northern Kentucky transfer felt the impact of the Marine Corps program upon arrival at Iowa.

“When the program came in, they really introduced us to the ‘one team, one heartbeat’ [mentality],” Rocco said. “I think that’s really pushed us to be a closer-bonded team and made us really push for each other to just win games. After we went through that program, it was like a whole new level of bonding. When you roll in the sand together, you basically are a family. It’s almost like you have the same blood.”

In addition to a new mentality, Gillispie can see a physical difference in her team.

“We worked so hard last year,” Gillispie said. “We had quite a few injuries last year that we were kind of battling through. We’ve got a very healthy squad right now. They’re all working hard in the weight room. Our strength coach has done a great job with them this year. They’re looking like Division I athletes now.”

The Hawkeyes’ offseason training will finally be put to test over the weekend. Iowa kicks off its season at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic on Friday with a matchup against Eastern Carolina.

Facebook Comments