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Here's Why One College Softball Player Stayed Close To Home

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Illinois-native Jenna Christeson opted to stay close to home for college and attend Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. A freshman utility infielder, Christeson played travel ball in the Extreme Elite organization and is currently majoring in healthcare management.

See below for more on Christeson's recruiting journey to SIUC.

Softball America: When did you realize you wanted to play college softball?

Jenna Christeson: I think I realized I wanted to play college softball when I was in Oklahoma for a softball tournament and we had the opportunity to go watch the University of Florida Gators play in the Women’s College World Series. I told my mom that I wanted to be down there one day and be just like them. Since then, I have dedicated my whole life to softball.

SA: How did the recruiting process go for you?

JC: As for about every athlete, the recruiting process was stressful. It is not supposed to be easy, as you are trying to pick a place you want to pursue your career for the next four years. I talked to many college coaches about what it would be like playing at their college, but when it came down to it, I had offers from Indiana State, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

SA: When did you realize you wanted to go to Southern Illinois University-Carbondale?

JC: SIUC was definitely a top pick for me. The coaches here are absolutely amazing and they made me feel like I was at home and already a part of the team before I had even made a decision. I actually committed while at a tournament in Florida because it suddenly hit me that that's where I wanted to play my final four years of softball.

SA: What are you most looking forward to about your college softball career? 

JC: I think the thing that I am looking forward to the most is competing against some of the best athletes in college. That, along with making relationships with people who are going to be some of my best friends for the rest of my life.

SA: What advice do you have for young softball players who want to play in college? 

JC: My advice for young athletes who want to play college softball is pretty simple: just be athletic and keep things simple. Even though a young athlete wants to go to college for softball, I highly recommend playing other sports. That might seem crazy, but by doing this, you are becoming a more versatile athlete.

More advice would be to just allow yourself to grow. You only become better by growing, mentally and physically. Your mental state is a big factor that plays into softball. You have to realize that it is okay to make mistakes and to have bad games because it happens to every single athlete out there. Nobody cares about the mistakes, rather, they care about how you react after them.

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