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Why Hayleigh Juenger Chose Brown And The Ivy League

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After a long recruiting process, 2020 pitcher and outfielder Hayleigh Juenger made her commitment to play Division I softball at Brown University, where she is a college freshman this fall.

Juenger, a native of O'Fallon, Ill., caught up with Softball America about her decision to play at Brown in the Ivy League as well as her recruiting process as a whole. See below for SA's full interview with Juenger.

Softball America: Is there a point in time you can recall that you knew you wanted to play softball in college?

Hayleigh Juenger: I think I really started thinking that I wanted to continue playing when I was around 13 or 14 years old.

SA: How was the recruiting process for you?

HJ: The recruiting process was a long one for me. I started a little early as an eighth grader just sending emails and things like that. It wasn't until like sophomore year that I started attending camps and really starting to take ownership of my recruitment. One of the most important aspects of my recruiting process, and what ultimately got me to Brown, was playing in showcase tournaments with my team.

SA: Was it always a goal of yours to play for an Ivy League school?

HJ: Not at all. I never imagined myself going to an Ivy League school, let alone playing softball at one.

SA: What aspects of playing for an Ivy League school were most intriguing to you?

HJ: Academics are obviously very important to me, so I knew that no matter where I ended up playing, I wanted academics to be a priority. One of the most intriguing aspects of playing for an Ivy League school is the fact that in the fall and offseason, they function more like a Division III program so that the athletes can prioritize their academics. Hearing about that aspect was very interesting to me and I thought it was awesome.

SA: What are you most excited about for this upcoming season?

HJ: I am very hopeful that we will get to have a season! If we do play, I am most excited to live out one of my lifelong dreams.

SA: Is there any advice you would give to young softball players who want to play in college?

HJ: One piece of advice that I would give is to find your "why" early. Knowing why you love softball and why you want to play is so helpful on the hard days. There will be days when you just don't feel it or don't have it, but if you cling to your why, you can get through those days and ultimately reach your goals.

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