Alongside a handful of others, Piper Ruthrauff is one of the few freshmen granted a position on the varsity softball team. In this somewhat coveted position, Ruthrauff finds herself looking to older team members to help guide her in her first season.
“I’m just trying to connect with everyone,” Ruthrauff said. “Everyone’s been super nice and I feel like everyone likes the freshmen. Jenna [Wheeler] and Chloe [Dehlin] have both given me rides and they’re just super sweet.”
Ruthrauff is joining the team in the first full season under the new head coach, Gina Garvery-Metzler. While the team had a substantial turnaround in coaching staff in the 2022 season, Ruthrauff hopes Garvey-Metzler allows the team to regroup for the new season.
“I think [Garvey-Metzler] builds really strong coach-player relationships and, even though she’s fairly new, I think everyone trusts her,” Ruthrafuff said. “I think everyone trusts her and I think [we’re] going into the season with an open mind.”
As a catcher, Ruthrauff has made it a goal to connect with each pitcher on the team to improve their on and off-the-field connections.
“It’s really good to switch up throwing partners,” Ruthrauff said. “When [I’m] hitting off the tee, it’s really good to just ask an upperclassman to hit with you. That way, you guys can talk and it builds community.”
For Ruthrauff, her mental game is an area that she focuses on as the season commences to best prepare herself for potential challenges.
“The mental game is [tough],” Ruthrauff said. “You have to shake off anything you do wrong or else you’re gonna spiral. I’ve got to focus on everything I did good before and I can’t let myself think of everything I’ve done wrong. It’s like a game of failure. You’re good if you’re succeeding 50% of the time, [but] you’re [also] failing a lot.”