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Why St. John's Senior Gretchen Bowie Will Return For 2021

(Photo by St. John's Athletics)

Spring student-athletes across different NCAA conferences and divisions found themselves with a new opportunity following the NCAA’s decision to grant an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19's cancellation of their 2020 seasons.

This decision impacted Gretchen Bowie of St. John's, a standout third baseman for the Red Storm, who had high expectations for her final season of college softball. A member of the All-Big East First Team for three consecutive years, Bowie's mission was to help the Red Storm win a championship during her senior year. Luckily for Bowie, she still has the opportunity to do so next spring, as she will return for a final run at a Big East title.

See below for more on Bowie's decision to return to St. John's for next season.

Softball America: How were you feeling going into the 2020 season?

Gretchen Bowie: Personally, going into the 2020 season, I was extremely ambitious to succeed in multiple areas. For myself, I had four records in line that I was prepared to work hard for and hopefully set. As a team, we have been chasing the dream of winning the Big East championship.

SA: When you heard the news about the NCAA's eligibility extension, did you immediately think you would take the year of eligibility?

GB: I’ll never forget where I was standing when I received the news about being granted another year of eligibility. I was outside my house at school where I live with a few of my teammates. I looked at my phone, read the NCAA verdict, looked up at my three teammates and started jumping up and down screaming, my voice filled with such excitement. I knew without a doubt I was going to use the additional year of eligibility.

SA: What were the deciding factors for you to use your extra year of NCAA eligibility?

GB: For St. John’s, specifically in the education department, I enrolled in the five-year program. Thus, I would graduate from St. John’s in five years total with my bachelor's and master's degree in Adolescent Education with a concentration in Biology. So, I already knew I was going to be returning to St. John’s as a graduate student. Hence, when I received the news about being granted another year of eligibility, it was a no-brainer for me.

SA: What are you looking forward to for next season?

GB: I am looking for my team to walk away from the Big East Tournament as champions. We have come so close in my past four years and it’s time that we lock in a ring for ourselves. Also, I’m looking forward to being out on that diamond with my teammates once again because for a brief moment in March, I thought that was my last time on the field with them.

SA: What does this opportunity to return for an extra year of NCAA eligibility mean to you?

GB: I am forever grateful to now truly have my senior year. When the season was canceled in March, I felt my stomach drop and tears poured out of my eyes for two straight days. I couldn’t fathom the idea that I went from getting dressed to head to practice that day to crying in bed thinking that I will never be a collegiate softball player again. I was nowhere near ready for my softball chapter to be over, and luckily, I have another year thanks to the NCAA. 

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