A Senior Farewell

May 7, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two hundred and seven games and four years later, seniors Chelsey Carmody and Jenny Schuelke close out their University of Iowa softball careers. The duo, along with fellow senior Stephanie Ochoa, begin a two-game series against Penn State tonight at Pearl Field.

Carmody, Schuelke and Ochoa, a transfer from Iowa Lakes Community College, will slip on their uniforms for what could be the final time on Sunday in the series finale against the Nittany Lions.

“I think it’s kind of bittersweet,” said Schuelke, who has hit 15 home runs in her UI career. “It has been a lot of fun being a Hawkeye. I’ve had a lot of great times with my teammates. I think it will be sad when our last game is over.”

Ochoa is looking forward to playing her final series at Pearl Field. This weekend her mother, Tina, is making the trek to Iowa City for the first time to watch the weekend series and partake in Sunday’s Senior Day festivities.

“It means a lot to me that my mom is going to get to see me play at Pearl Field,” said Ochoa, who hails from Stanton, Calif. “She’s helped me through a lot and has always been there for me. I am really looking forward to glancing up and seeing her in the stands.”

Ochoa joined the Hawkeyes in 2010 after playing two seasons in junior college. After being an NJCAA All-America selection, the first baseman had her sights set staying in-state and playing for the UI.

“Coach (Gayle) Blevins gave me an opportunity to play here,” said Ochoa. “It is what I set my sights on, and I was able to come here achieve one of my goals. Being a Hawkeye and playing in this environment with all my teammates has meant a great deal to me.”

The thought of playing her last game as a Hawkeye is a little too much for Carmody, so she’s trying to keep those thoughts out of her mind.

“It is a little bit overwhelming, as well as exciting,” said Carmody, who is a four year starter for the team. “I am going to attempt to not think about it too much because I don’t want it to distract me from actually playing.”

Not too much has distracted the Missouri native in her Hawkeye career. The team co-captain closes out her career ranked among the top-12 in six different categories, including hits (6th – 233), runs (6th – 126) and batting average (8th – .337).

Aside from helping the Hawkeyes win 135 games and make two NCAA Regional appearances, Carmody is thankful for what the program has meant to her as a person.

“It really means a lot to be a part of this community and this family of Hawkeyes,” said Carmody. “It’s an honor to be a part of it. It has really helped me grow up to become the person that I wanted to be… I have really had the chance to grow here.”

The Hawkeyes bring a 26-23 overall and an 8-10 Big Ten record into the weekend series. The team needs a pair of victories over the Nittany Lions to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

“Recently we’ve been trying to go out there, have fun and play every game like it’s our last,” said Schuelke. “We’re going to try and finish the season strong and see what happens.”

Saturday’s opening game is slated to begin at 6 p.m. Sunday’s finale starts at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. The Senior Day festivities will take place following the conclusion of the contest.