The S&B’s Nora Coghlan sat down with Lydia Stariha ’17, short stop for the women’s softball team. This past weekend, Stariha gained a solo spot atop the all-time runs list for Grinnell, with 80 runs scored.
The S&B: First of all congrats! Can you talk a little bit about your second game against Illinois College and how it felt?
Lydia Stariha: We had a rougher first game, we didn’t come out with hits as much so it felt really good to have the whole team … getting runs in and making plays on the field. Its always tough with softball because you play two games in a day unlike other sports where its just one so we lost the first game and you’ve got to quickly turn around and have a good mentality, and our team did that really well.
The S&B: Did you feel like you were going to have as good of a game as you did?
LS: I think we had a good week of practice, we had some rest time so it felt really good to get out there and play.
The S&B: How has the rest of the season been going?
LS: Definitely some ups and downs. I think that we’re playing well as a team and that doesn’t always show up in wins or losses, but overall I’m really happy with the improvement that I’ve seen from last year in all the players on the team.
The S&B: How long have you been playing softball?
LS: I started when I was about six so I’ve been playing for about 16 years now. I have two older sisters, so I just played on their teams growing up. I’ve been around the sport as long as I can remember. Growing up, I didn’t have school teams in grade school, so I did travel ball in the summer and then I played on my high school team for four years.
The S&B: Do you play any other sports?
LS: I’m on the basketball team. I’ve been playing basketball since I was in like fourth grade.
The S&B: What positions do you play and which do you like best?
LS: I play short stop. I started out as a catcher here. I pitched for a little bit, caught and the last few years I’ve been playing short stop and I really like it there. Its probably my favorite position. When you’re younger you kind of get to try everything because they’re like ‘oh you’re kids, have fun’ but as I got older I really enjoyed catching but then transitioning into college I really enjoyed short stop. I get a lot of ground balls there so it really tests my athleticism across the field. I like short stop a lot.
The S&B: How are practices looking this season? You said you’ve put in a lot of hard work. Is the team really connecting?
LS: It’s really fun, we get to do some offense and defense and we’ve really done some more quick paced defensive drills which I think gets everyone engaged and gets us to do a lot of movement and coverage. Offensively we’ve had a lot of different things we’re putting in. I think this year we are doing a better job of trying to adjust. If something isn’t going well, putting in drills that will help you out and help the team out.
The S&B: You’ve been on the team all four years you’ve been at Grinnell. Do you feel like you have a favorite season or that you’ve progressed throughout the years?
LS: It’s definitely been a progression. I think starting off as a first year you’re kind of just new and learning it and I have been fortunate enough to have a leadership role and just helping kind of change the program and being part of a changing program has been really fun. I think all the women involved have been like super excellent in making this program hardworking and a lot of dedication and a high caliber program.
The S&B: You’re a two-sport athlete which takes up a lot of time. How have you been able to manage your school work and life with athletics?
LS: I think it’s a lot of prioritizing, so I may not go out on a Saturday. I may choose not to watch Netflix at all that week, just little things like that. An important thing to me has been balance. Sometimes if I’m really tired after a game, I’m not going to push myself to go do four hours of homework, but at the same time if I have a Friday off, I’m not going to watch TV. I’m going to do homework. So just knowing what I need at the time and coming up with a balance where I can see my friends and make sure that I have time to relax but at the same time I’m getting my homework done and getting practice in. A big thing I’ve learned is listen to yourself so if you know you’re not going to get homework done because you’re super tired then don’t try to push it and do a ton of homework in one night.
The S&B: Are most of your friends on the softball and basketball teams?
LS: My closest friends are on my team, but its been kind of nice because I am a biochemistry major, so I get to meet a lot of people through there as well. So it’s a weird dichotomy where my sports friends understand my sports stuff and my science friends understand my science stuff, so I get a little bit of both.
The S&B: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
LS: Definitely to put what I know we can do into execution. I’ve seen all these women play multiple games and I think we can get hits and score so now its just putting that on the field.