Mizzou's Brooke Wilmes Soaking Up Every Moment Of Fifth Year
When Brooke Wilmes played her first college softball games with Mizzou as a freshman in 2018, she was in disbelief that she had the ability to play among some of the game's greatest athletes.
Back then, she was floating on cloud nine competing against players like Florida's Kelly Barnhill and Amanda Lorenz. It solidified to her that her hard work had paid off since she had finally made it to the Division I level.
“Being able to step into that role and actually play those bigger teams was an absolute dream come true to me,” said Wilmes, a Johnston, Iowa native. “It really set in for me that I’m here. This is it for me. I get to live out my dreams of playing against those amazing college players that came before me.”
Now, five seasons later, the outfielder has become one of those superstars that younger players look up to. The All-American currently sits in fifth place on the program’s all-time hit list with 242 and is quickly moving up the record book.
According to Wilmes, her success at the plate would not have come without the confidence she has gained during her time at Mizzou.
“My confidence has really gone up and I know that I can be a very good hitter sometimes,” Wilmes said. “I like having that confidence in myself because that can elevate my game even more.”
Just like every other hitter in softball, Wilmes sometimes finds herself going through slumps and moments of nervousness at the plate, but she knows that's all part of becoming better at her craft. She often works with her hitting coaches to break down her swing and look at the little things she needs to improve upon.
“I am like every other player, I get nervous too.” Wilmes said. “We face such great pitchers at the D1 level and it is really hard. I now know that I can face any single pitcher in this country and I can succeed.”
Usually being one of the first hitters in Mizzou's lineup, Wilmes uses that role to her team’s advantage. Relaying information back to the dugout about the opposing pitcher has helped the No. 12 Tigers create a strong force on offense this year.
“We can do this together as a team, so coming back in, relaying that information from what the opposing pitcher is giving us, I think is really important,” Wilmes said. “Then, from there, it takes over and we know what to expect.”
Chasing a record is the last thing on Wilmes' mind right now. In her fifth year of college softball, she is grateful to even be on the field right now and to have the opportunity to impact other players.
“This year, I just want to go out and have fun and enjoy one more year with my teammates,” Wilmes said. “Chasing that record, I don’t believe is super important for me. The main focus for me is being around my teammates and making sure they succeed as well, and making sure it is not just about me.”
Reflecting on her college softball career, Wilmes wants every player to simply enjoy their time playing while they still can and embrace every moment they have as student-athletes.
“Don’t take these years for granted,” Wilmes said. “I have enjoyed every single moment of it. Do all the things you never thought you would do. You made it here to the D1 level, so just go out and have fun every single day because not a lot of people get this experience.”
While there are no further softball plans for Wilmes after this season, she hopes to use her bachelor’s degree in sports management to one day give athletes similar experiences as she's had.
“I just know that I want to have an impact on athletes that I know my support staff gave to me,” Wilmes said. “Whether that's as an academic advisor or in some other way, I want to have an impact on college athletes.”