Home Grown Hawkeyes

Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | 24 Hawkeyes to Watch 2016-17 | Hawk Talk Monthly — March

IOWA CITY, Iowa — For the five Iowa natives on the University of Iowa softball team, being a Hawkeye is a dream come true.
Some people choose to venture away from home for college, but the love of Iowa kept Shayla Starkenburg, Mallory Kilian, Taylor Libby, Allison Doocy, and Alex Rath in the Hawkeye State.
“It came down to the fact that I love living in the state of Iowa,” said Starkenburg. “I knew I wanted to play close to home, and when I came on my visit, I loved the campus. I loved how small it was, yet how big it felt. I decided it would be a great opportunity for me to play here.”
“Both of my parents went to Iowa, and that’s where they met, so I’ve been a Hawkeye fan my whole life,” said Doocy. “I always wanted to go to Iowa, but softball sealed the deal for me.”
As lifetime Hawkeye fans, this group grew up admiring those before them.
“There was a catcher, Liz Watkins, when I was young,” said Libby. “I went to camps, and I loved being around her. I always wanted to be her. Now, I’m in that role as a catcher at the University of Iowa so it kind of came full circle.”
“Honestly, it was Shayla,” said Doocy. “Shayla went to my high school, so I watched her all throughout high school, and then I saw her journey throughout college. Since I was in sixth grade, she has been the one I’ve looked up to.”
After growing up dreaming of being a Hawkeye, earning a spot on the team was a feeling these student-athletes will never forget.
“It was one of the coolest experiences of my life,” said Libby. “You grow up as a little kid and see the College World Series and you dream of being in that spot. Being able to attend a university where that could be a possibility is one of the greatest things ever.”
Now, each time these players put on the jersey with “Hawkeyes” stamped across it, the group has the opportunity to carry on the Iowa legacy.
“There are so many people out there who support the University of Iowa,” said Kilian. “It’s a big deal to a lot of people, especially in Iowa. They live to go to the games and support us. The fact I get to be one of the players on this foundation of representing them is a big deal.”
“To me, putting on the jersey means that I get the opportunity to not only represent Iowa, but to be part of the legacy and sisterhood,” said Rath. “With my mom being a former player, I grew up with those players, and now they get to see me play. It’s a great feeling because you represent a system that has a tradition and you get to carry on that tradition.”
The Hawkeyes open their home slate Friday, hosting Valparaiso at 2:30 p.m. (CT) in game one of the Hawkeye Invitational. Iowa is also scheduled to play South Dakota, Creighton, and South Dakota State in the three-day tournament.