Why Elise Ontiveros Chose Montana And The Big Sky Conference
After posting a three-year batting average of .460 at Independence High School in Bakersfield, Calif., outfielder Elise Ontiveros decided to continue her softball career at the University of Montana.
Softball America caught up with Ontiveros on her decision to become a Grizzly and how the upperclassmen, along with the coaching staff, have made her feel at home throughout her freshman year.
Find out more about Ontiveros' recruiting journey below.
Softball America: What made you decide to commit to the University of Montana?
Elise Ontiveros: I decided to play for the University of Montana because it allowed me to earn an education, while also allowing me to compete at the D1 collegiate level for softball. I chose this program because of the support from not only my teammates and coaches, but the community as well. I saw this as a program that would allow me to compete as the player I am.
SA: How did the hard work you put in during travel ball and high school ball prepare you for college softball?
EO: Travel ball allowed me to work with some of the most well-known coaches that provided me with the fundamental mechanics to grow as an athlete. Weekend practices with my teams meant hours of practices focusing on my mechanics and skills. Tournaments were the time that I could compete against some of the best players in the country, while improving myself as a player. All of those long, hard days prepared me mentally for the college level and how to use my skills in very competitive games.
SA: How old were you when you started playing softball?
EO: I started playing softball when I was four years old, and I started playing travel ball in eighth grade.
SA: How were you feeling going into your first week of college games? Were you nervous at all?
EO: Honestly I was really excited to finally be able to be on the field with my girls. We have been waiting all year to get to play, so I was really anxious to play more than anything. I got a little nervous and scared before the very first game, but my coaches knew exactly what to say to ease my nerves. They got me to realize that it’s a game I have been playing my whole life, so there was nothing to be scared of or nervous about.
SA: How have the upperclassmen at Montana helped you during your first college season?
EO: My upperclassmen have been amazing. They have passed down so much information and little pointers here and there that have really helped me in my freshman year. They have guided me on the field to help me become a better player and learn the “Griz Way.”
SA: What are your practices like? How are they different from travel and high school practices?
EO: Our practices are constantly competitive. They are a faster pace and longer than travel and high school practices were. They are definitely a lot colder in Montana, too. I am from California, so I’m used to the warmer weather.
SA: What is your biggest goal this season?
EO: Personally, my biggest goal is to be a consistent player for my team and to take advantage of game-changing situations when given the opportunity.