Why Stevie Meade Chose The University Of Illinois
University of Illinois outfielder Stevie Meade had a stellar freshman season for the Fighting Illini in 2022.
The Kansas native was a member of the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and started all 52 games she appeared in last spring.
Coming out of Aces Fastpitch, one of the country's top travel organizations, Meade was certainly prepared for the Division I level and made her presence felt as a true college freshman.
Softball America caught up with Meade to discuss why she chose Illinois and much more relating to her softball journey to date. See below for SA's full conversation with Meade.
Softball America: Why did you choose the University of Illinois?
Stevie Meade: Ever since my freshman year of high school, they attended almost every single one of my tournaments and talked to my coach, Ryan Taylor, about me. They always showed how badly they wanted me as a player, and that was really the difference in why I decided to go there.
With the love and support from the coaching staff before I even got there, I knew that this was going to be my best fit for a new home. I also didn’t want a school that wins the World Series every year. I wanted to come into a program and make history. I wanted to make a difference on a team that is starting to grow.
SA: How did playing at a high level in travel ball prepare you for college softball?
SM: Playing on such a high-level team, you are pushed to your max effort and surrounded by people who want you to succeed and get better. I think that playing on a team of 30 players before getting to college made me understand the concept of working for your spot and helped me realize there will always be competition that is trying to outwork you.
SA: What was the biggest adjustment for you when making the jump to college?
SM: One of the biggest adjustments was time management. You have to make sure you go to class every day and get your homework done, while managing practice. You have to hold yourself accountable for doing those things because you do not have your parents to do that anymore.
SA: Who in your life has made the biggest impact on your softball career to date?
SM: My dad has been my biggest supporter and pushed me to be the best softball player I could be.
SA: When did you start to play softball and why did you stick with it?
SM: I started playing softball when I was four years old. I was told by some people that I was too small to ever play in college, regardless of the size of the school. I wanted to prove them wrong.
SA: What are your goals for the rest of your college softball career?
SM: The Illinois team is on such a big climb up that I am excited to see the history we make within the next few years. I want to grow as a player to be even better.