Monthly Archives: March 2012

Two Lady Techsters hunt for more than a homerun

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Kendra Harmon (right) with the deer she killed for her television show for Outdoor Channel.

BY KALEB CAUSEY

Spending time in the woods hoping for the next big kill has proven to be an exciting way for two Lady Techsters to spend theirtime off the field.

Kendra Harmon, a senior left fielder, and Janine Godwin, a freshman outfielder, have more in common than softball. They both love deer hunting.

Harmon and Godwin are both from small towns where they said their families were their main influence to start hunting.

Godwin said in her hometown of Princeton, Texas, people’s favorite extra-curricular activities involve hunting and fishing. For Harmon, the situation is the same and she said her family has a deer stand in her back yard.

“My mom and dad would take me hunting when I was as young as two,” Harmon said. “They would bring me in their deer stands with them and I would go to sleep on the floor.”

Godwin said she had been going with her father to their deer lease since she was around the age of two as well.

Even though they both started hunting around the same age, Godwin just recently killed her first deer.

“I killed my first deer over this past Thanksgiving break,” Godwin said. “When I was little, I never wanted to shoot a deer because I was a big animal person that didn’t want to kill them.”

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Janine Godwin with her first ever deer.

Harmon, on the other hand, has a completely different story and killed her first deer when she was just 6 years old.

“All I remember was being with my dad,” Harmon said. “He let me get on his lap to kill the deer.”

Harmon was recently given the opportunity to be featured on an episode of Outdoor Channel’s “Mossy Oak’s Hunting in the Country”.

“My family and I go to Giles Island every Christmas to hunt,” she said. “The host of the show was at Giles the same time that I was the year before. They called Giles and asked if we were coming back this past year because they wanted to put us on the show.”

Harmon said recording a television show was a new experience for her.

“It was very odd getting used to having a camera in my face all of the time,” Harmon said. “Every where I went, I had a camera following me and was hooked up to a microphone.”

Godwin does not just stick to deer hunting. She enjoys hunting turkeys, rabbits and squirrels as well as deer.

“I’ve only killed one deer,” Godwin said. “I’m hoping for a lot more though.”

Harmon’s favorite story actually involves a mixture of snacks and a running deer.

“I’m not the type of hunter that just sits and waits on a deer,” Harmon said. “I have to have candy, Coke, chips and my cell phone with me.”

While Harmon was on a guided hunt at Giles Island, she was getting her usual snacks and cell phone ready after entering the stand when her guide started yelling at her.

“He kept telling me to get my gun up,” she said. “Before I could even get it up, he was telling me to shoot a deer that I haven’t even seen yet. When I saw the deer, it was a huge buck running across the food plot that we were hunting, so the guide yelled at the buck after grunting at it didn’t work. It stopped just before it entered the woods and I got to shoot him.”

Godwin and Harmon both said that no matter what, softball always comes before hunting, no matter how bad their buck fever is.

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Softball coach finds joy from a different type of diamond

 

BY NATALIE MCELWEE

Some people may be shocked to find out that ‘Softball’ is not Sarah Dawson’s middle name. This 37-year-old, now head coach of the Louisiana Tech University softball team, has been around the softball field ever since she was too young to hold a bat.

Coming from a family of softball players and coaches, Dawson was destined to follow in those cleat-steps.

“I started playing softball between the ages of five and six years old,” she said. “My mother had been a softball player and a really successful one at that. I have two other sisters and I think we all took to softball more than some of the other sports that we played. So I’ve kind of played it my entire life or at least been around it.”

Since discovering the beloved game at such an early age, Dawson accomplished more than can be counted on a scoreboard.

“There was definitely a turning point in high school when I chose for myself that I didn’t just want to play softball,” she said. “I had softball goals I wanted to accomplish.”

And accomplish goals Dawson did, some of which include being named an All-American, playing with the American National team against Australia and spending a summer playing softball in Italy.

Dawson said her biggest achievement has not come from awards and honors but from within.

“I figured out how to be successful with what I had and kind of pushed my ability as far as I could push it,” she said. “I was never going to be the top five in the nation, but I could be top ten. In my mind, that’s what I feel good about.”

Out of years playing and experiencing the sport, Dawson said her favorite memory of softball so far is her years spent on the college team at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

“I was able to play with my younger sister,” she said. “She’s just a year younger than me, and so playing with her was a really special thing to share. There was actually a group of four or five of us from the San Diego area that went to school together, so that was a special thing. Most people when they get to college play with a new set of teammates, so that was kind of cool to be able to play with that group of people for three years.”

Dawson has been head coach of softball at Tech since 2003. When asked about her future plans, she could not help but smile while answering.

“Well, this summer I’m getting married, so I’m excited about that,” she said with a grin. “That will be really kind of a cool thing. I’m 37. To get married at this age is kind of a life-changer.”

Softball has been a source of joy for Dawson throughout her life, opening many doors. It just so happens, the game helped Dawson find someone who would impact her life in one of the greatest of ways.

Of the many things that make this engagement special is one simple fact: Brad Kerr, her now fiancé, is also her assistant softball coach of almost three years. To say softball has impacted every vessel of Dawson’s life is an understatement.

“We’ve been dating for two years,” she said. “When the team doesn’t play well, it can be tough. We both have a bad day at work. We’ve learned to balance each other out. We communicate with one another.”

While some men might feel emasculated to work for their future wife, Dawson said it has not affected their relationship.

“Nothing has changed since we’ve been engaged,” she said. “He doesn’t get preferential treatment and he doesn’t get worse treatment since we are engaged. Hopefully I don’t treat him any differently because we are in a relationship.”

Kerr’s proposal did not involve softball but did involve two other loves of her life: her two-year-old niece, Quinn, and five-year-old nephew, Nate.

“Brad had said that it was Nate’s ideas to make birthday cards for me since my birthday was a week away,” Dawson said. “I was going to have to judge them. Nate had a card that said ‘Will you’, Quinn’s said ‘marry me?’ and Brad was on one knee with a ring. It was pretty cool that he involved the kids because I love my nieces and nephews.”

The couple plans to marry in Dawson’s hometown of San Diego this summer. Dawson said if she and Kerr have a son one day, she will not mind him crossing over to the dark side of baseball.

Young Lady Techsters Deal with Transition from High School to College

 

BY BLAKE BOLIN

The transition from high school to college can be a tremendous challenge for anyone, but for a collegiate softball player, it means that much more.

The 2012 Louisiana Tech softball team features four true freshman who have experienced this change first hand. There are many difficulties to overcome whether that be on the softball field itself or in the classroom.

Janine Godwin, a freshman outfielder, realized quickly that college was not going to be a breeze.

“There is a realization that you’re not gonna get A’s in every class, coming here and getting A’s and B’s is just a wake up call that its not all easy,” commented Godwin.

Alayna Kipp, a freshman catcher, agreed with Godwin’s comments about the difficulty of transitioning from high school to college.

“It’s a lot harder, you have a lot more things going on here and it’s just a lot harder in the classes. You don’t get babied like in high school,” said Kipp.

Hailey Winter, a freshman third baseman, discussed some positives academics wise of switching from high school to college.

“In high school you were always monitored but now in college you have a whole lot more freedom to do what you want, also, I like the fact that classes are every other day and I have time to get everything done.”

Going from softball in high school to softball in college may be the biggest reality check for some players. College softball is the best of the best and it’s not always so simple. For one player, that transition was made quite a bit easier.

Alayna Kipp was fortunate enough to have her older sister Erin on the team. Erin a pitcher for the Lady Techsters gave Alayna a lot of help in facing this transition.

“It has helped me so much shes there for me all the time. When she was a freshman she had a little trouble cause she didn’t have anybody here and I came down here I knew some of her friends. I don’t know what I would do without here here,” Alayna remarked on her big sister.

Godwin is excited about this new chapter in her life, although she knows there will be difficult times.

“I started playing softball when I was four years old, and select since I was ten, so it has always been a dream to play college softball,” continued Godwin. “The struggle is dealing with failures. You’re not always going to be prefect and when you get out there and mess up and you think everyone isn’t gonna like you. Everyone fails and is not going to be successful all the time, that’s my biggest struggle.”

Head softball coach Sarah Dawson has given plenty of advice to her freshman about juggling school, softball, and social life.

“We tell them if their priorities are not school first, softball second, and social third, they are not going to be successful in this program. Tech is a strong academic instution and if you fall behind in this quarter system, you are not going to be able to catch up. I feel like this is taken care of already though, because we recruit strong student-athletes. Most players who come here are serious about softball and being student athletes first and are excited about the opportunity to play college softball.”

Every collegiate athlete is going to have their struggles but with the help of those around them, everyone can be successful. Most people at some point will struggle with the transition. These softball players are currently experiencing this and are learning and growing from it as they prepare themselves for their future beyond softball.