The Official South Carolina Athletics Site

Four Softball Seniors Reminisce on Their Time at Carolina

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
It's Senior Day for Gamecock Softball and before today's game vs. Florida at Beckham Field (first pitch: 2:00 PM) we'll be honoring four seniors, April Borchardt, Ashley Chastain, P.J. Fulmer, and Laura Mendes, who are wrapping up their time at Carolina. First year head coach Beverly Smith said this group of seniors was instrumental in helping her and the new coaching staff this year get acclimated to South Carolina, the make-up of the team and their traditions. I talked to each of the seniors this week about their favorite memories as Gamecocks, what's next for them, and more. Read on:

BL: What are some of your favorite memories or moments as a student at Carolina and as a softball player?

Laura Mendes: My favorite memory as a student was when I got an "A" on my first Criminal Justice test. I took a class with Theresa Clement, she's my favorite Criminal Justice professor, so I was pretty happy with myself. As a softball player, definitely when I had the game-winning RBI hit when we beat Alabama sophomore year.

Ashley Chastain: My favorite memory as a softball player would probably be beating Alabama two times my sophomore year to win the series. That was a big weekend for us as a team and something I'll never forget. As a student I've just really enjoyed being on campus here, developing relationships with professors. I've definitely enjoyed the student side of being a student-athlete so that's overall my favorite.  

April Borchardt: Probably all the fun times we have on the bus rides and doing really well against some of the top teams in the nation.

P.J. Fulmer: As a player our best win would have been the Alabama series a couple years ago, I think they were ranked #4 at the time and we won the series. We played so well together. In general though, just getting to know teammates. You get to know people so well traveling with them. You make a lot of really good friends so that's a really good memory to have, all of our experiences together. As a student, one of the reasons I came here is because of my major (Sport & Entertainment Management) and just the opportunities I've had, like my upcoming internship. I wouldn't get those if I wasn't at this school.  

Softball seniors.jpg
From L to R: April Borchardt, Laura Mendes, Ashley Chastain, P.J. Fulmer

BL: What are you going to miss the most once you leave?

LM: Probably the softball field actually. When I'm done here I'm not totally sure what I'm going to do so it's going from a family-oriented situation with all the girls I've been playing with for four years and this family union, so it's going to be different to leave everybody and come back and watch them play.  

AC: Definitely the girls. The team, the relationships that I've made. We are like a family so I definitely think I'll miss the people the most.  

AB: Definitely the rest of the girls. I love the game and I'll definitely miss that too, but you meet so many people and make some really good friendships and that's what I'll miss the most, just being around our family bond.

PJF: Just having a schedule. Knowing what's going on and what's coming next.  And of course I'll miss all of my teammates and I'll definitely miss getting to know the new coaches this year. Having to start over and make new and more friends to hang out with in a new place is tough. I'm from here though (Blythewood) so if I come back (after my internship) I'll still see them. But if I don't come back, I'll miss them a lot. I'll miss the competition. You're never going to get competition like this anymore.

BL: What advice would you leave for some of your younger teammates?

LM: Work hard in school and on the field. Get ahead on the field as much you can. Any extra preparation and practice is what keeps you ahead in the game.

AC: Don't take a day for granted because it goes by so fast. Before you know it you'll be sitting here answering these questions and you'll be wondering, "where did the time go?" So just don't take anything for granted and enjoy every moment of it.  

AB: Go all out. You never know when it's going to be your last so you should give it your all.

PJF: It may be cheesy, but you can't take the time for granted. I know my freshman and sophomore year I said, "well, there's always next year," but there's really not always next year. They've got to just take the time they have right now and just play it and do what they have to do at the time. Don't waste it.

BL: What is your favorite place on campus?

LM: Carolina Café! Best bagels in town!

AC: My favorite place is definitely the Horseshoe by far. I'm a History major and it holds a lot of historical meaning. I've learned a lot about that and I love being there.

AB: Probably the Horseshoe because it's such a relaxing, open area. It's really beautiful there.

PJF: Besides the field? (BL: It can be the field!) Well, it's changed over the years, it would have to be the field. Freshman year it would've been Russell House, but now definitely the field.  

BL: What have you learned or what's the biggest difference for you now as a senior vs. when  you were a freshman?

LM: When I was a freshman I was all over the place. I had teammates directing me on the field, I wasn't sure where to go all the time, unsure of the systems. But now I have it down pat and I'm confident in myself and my abilities. I know what I can do, on and off the field. Time has shown me and proven what I can do.  

AC: I really think you just grow up. Becoming an adult, having responsibility, thinking about the rest of your life and making decisions to better your future. You step on campus your first day as a freshman and you never think about those things and then four years later it's, "oh my gosh, what am I going to do with my life?" so the biggest change for me is just growing up and becoming an adult.

AB: Growing up and being mature. Filling your shoes in your role on the team. You have a little more room to make mistakes as a freshman.

PJF: You just learn to take charge and do what you need to do. Like freshman year I remember being terrified on this field with everyone being older than me and playing in the SEC. I had to learn that you're not playing against the name on the other team's jersey. It may be Florida but we can hang with these people. Being a senior you've played them a few times and you know you can handle it.  

BL: What are your plans for after graduation?

LM: I have a few options right now. I could stay for grad school.  I could get a job here in the Criminal Justice department, Terry Cousins has been working with me on that. Or I could go home to Florida and get a job there, be close to my mom and my nephew. Either way it will be a good situation.

AC: I'm going to grad school here at USC. That starts in June so I'll have a month off and then school starts back all summer. It's a one-year program. I'm going to be the grad assistant for the team next year so I'll still be around. I think I'll really enjoy that side of being part of the team. My master's will be in teaching social studies, tying the teaching and history together to become a teacher and coach one day. I'm happy to be able to give back to this team that has blessed me so much.

AB: I haven't really decided yet! Hopefully find a job somewhere! I don't know if I want to get into psychology or coaching or something along those lines. My family wants me to go home but I don't really want to [laughing].

PJF: I'll be leaving June 5th to go to Fort Collins, Colorado, for a summer internship with Triple Crown Sports then I will graduate in August. It will be fun. After that I really want to come home. I know Colorado is pretty but I'll miss the South. If I get a job offer somewhere else I'll take it though, I'm not afraid of traveling and being somewhere else. Just maybe not up north, it's a little chilly up there [laughing].  

Good luck to all our seniors. Once a Gamecock, always a Gamecock! 

- Brittany

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment