WICHITA, Kan.—On Dec. 15, Independent Senior Danielle Allen knew exactly where she was going to college and what she would do. On that date, she learned that she would be attending Princeton University to play on the girls’ softball team.
“My brother played baseball and I was jealous, so I started playing softball,” said Allen of her decision to begin playing softball in the first place. “I pretty much wanted to do anything he did.”
On her acceptance to Princeton, Allen recounts her recruitment path as unique.
“I honestly don’t know how it happened… I went to Princeton’s camp my sophomore year and loved it. It essentially became my dream school after that,” said Allen. “Once I took my official visit and met the girls on the team, I knew that I belonged [there].”
“They loved crazy socks [too]!” Added Allen, who frequently wears crazy socks.
Another unique aspect of Allen’s softball experience is that there is no softball team at Independent for her to play on.
“We can’t generate enough interest. Independent had a solid team in the past, but it was dominated by upperclassmen.” Commented Allen, “we’ve had a lot of girls inquire about playing softball, but not enough to actually pick up the sport and play it.”
Instead, Allen plays for the Wichita Renegades during the summer, fall and winter. During the spring, Allen runs on the track team to stay in shape and get faster. She also helps coach a 14-and-under softball team on the weekends.
“It’s cliché, but if you’re not getting better you’re getting worse because everyone else is getting better somehow,” said Allen, “I know a ton of other girls who are getting a lot more practice than I am, so I have to keep up with them somehow without a team.”
“If I don’t swing for an entire week, the next week I’m going to notice it in my performance,” she added.
“Getting recruited was definitely an indicator [of my success] because you are essentially competing with every other softball player's dream to get into college and then play a Division I, II, or III sport.”
“I think I have a long way to go, though.” She concluded.