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Why Shanya Gordon Chose Bowie State University

Shanya Gordon Photo via Bowie State Athletics.jpg
(Photo via Bowie State Athletics)

History was made this past season for the Bowie State University Bulldogs, a Division 2 HBCU softball program in Bowie, Md. The Bulldogs finished their season with a record of 35-16 and won their fourth CIAA title, leading them to make their first NCAA Regional appearance since 2009.

A key player for Bowie State over the past several seasons was outfielder Shanya Gordon, who just completed her college softball career this spring.

Softball America had the chance to speak with Gordon about why she chose Bowie State, what it was like to win a championship this year and more. Read the full interview below.

Softball America: Why did you choose Bowie State University?

Shanya Gordon: If I’m being completely honest, I got a scholarship offer (to Bowie State). After accepting the offer, I was staying in my home state for post-secondary school. I took more time to research and paint what I wanted my life to be like after graduating. The visual communications department is where I'd say my new image was born. I wouldn't choose anywhere else to attend school or play softball.

SA: What was it like to win the conference championship this year?

SG: Winning the conference championship was like a fever dream. It was always something I saw myself doing, but this is a team sport and you can't win a softball game by yourself. I always saw myself in a dream being at the top, but actually winning was surreal.

SA: Who were your influences during your softball career?

SG: A mix of college players: Aliyah Andrews, Shay Knighten, Aleshia Ocasio, Odicci Alexander. Now, don't look at me crazy, but watching sports anime also influenced my game. Sure, I can mimic the moves and do something out of the ordinary, but my mental game was shifted watching some of those shows.

SA: What's something you learned from your time at Bowie State?

SG: You don't always have to have the main spotlight (on you) to reach the goals you set for yourself.

SA: How would you describe this season and what it meant to you?

SG: This season was like a movie that picked up off a good cliffhanger. We fell short of a championship in the 2022 season, and I assumed I would be done with my degree in the fall, but I had the opportunity to play again, so I jumped on it. I knew the pieces coming back and who was coming in, so the fall was all about learning the new players and identifying how they could help us reach the top.

Getting to the spring and putting our skill and drive in action was the hard part. We had even more pieces from the transfer portal, and everyone had time to recoup and get stronger and improve on the weak points they identified in the fall. As time progressed, the pieces started fitting together and it came down to sticking with our motto and defeating the "final boss" in the video game we couldn't beat last year. I would do it all over again, nail-biter finishes and all, if it meant watching my teammates and myself grow into better players and putting softball on the map for not only our school, but also in the community saying, "Hey, Black girls can play this game too!"

SA: Do you have any advice for high school players who hope to play in college?

SG: Your mental health comes first. Picking a school can be the best time of your life, but you need to look ahead and see yourself in the future of not only being on the team, but also getting the education offered by the school. Don't be discouraged by leaving a program because you don't fit into the team's goals anymore, or if you want to get into a better educational program that's going to boost your career. College lasts about four years, but your career is something you have to do in the long run.

north georgia softball Photo by Joy Kimbrough_NCAA Photos via Getty Images.jpg

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