By Carolyn Linck, '11
Jackie Nicora (JN), who was named to the 2010 PCSC Academic Honor Roll and 2010 PCSC All-Coastal Division First Team, is excited for her final season playing softball for the Broncos. Recently Nicora caught up with www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) to reflect on her years at SCU and her hopes for the coming season.
SCB: What are your goals and expectations for your senior season? What are you looking forward to most this year?
JN: The goals and expectations I have for my senior season are to work hard and have fun. Since this is my last year, I expect to leave everything out on the field and make sure that I do not have any regrets. My goal is to have a better season from an individual and team perspective than last year by being more consistent. I'm looking forward to just getting out on the field, playing hard, having fun, and competing. I am also looking forward to our road trips, especially the long rides!
SCB: How do you view your role on the team?
JN: I think my role on the team is to motivate my teammates to do the best they can do. As seniors, we think our playing experience will help us guide the younger players through difficult times, as well as also them enjoy the fun times.
SCB: How do you think you have grown as an athlete and a person in your four years at Santa Clara University?
JN: I have grown so much as an athlete and a person because of my experiences at Santa Clara. Athletically, I think I have matured into a better ball player. I have improved all around in my fielding and hitting. Athletics have also taught me that time management is important. Academically, Santa Clara has made me push myself into unknown arenas. Teachers have made me expand my horizon and think more critically about topics. In athletics and academics, Santa Clara expects the best out of you and they push you until you are the best you can be. I am still being pushed. I learn something new each day especially about myself. I would not be the person I am today if it was not for Santa Clara University.
SCB: What has been your best memory playing softball for the Broncos so far?
JN: I vividly remember the first homerun I hit as a freshman. It is something I will never forget. I also remember my freshman year when we played LMU. They had won the conference championship the prior year and were all receiving their championship rings. We were definitely the underdogs, but we ended up winning the series 3-1. LMU was shocked and it was a great feeling! Actually, I have great memories from every road trip we take. Every teammate has impacted me in some way and I have great memories with all of them.
SCB: You were name to the 2010 PCSC Academic Honor Roll last season. How do you manage softball and academics?
JN: It is all about time management. You have to get your work done and not procrastinate, or you are going to be staying up way too late studying. Also I think naps are really important because when you stay up late studying and then you have practice at 6:45am there needs to be time for you to take a break. Even a 10 minute nap makes a difference for me. Getting enough sleep is key.
SCB: This offseason your team has placed an emphasis on fundamentals and building up endurance and strength. How do you think this will help you once games start?
JN: Softball is all about fundamentals, so improving them is key. If you make the routine plays then you are going to be in every game. Softball is also about muscle memory, so if you do fundamentals repetitively then your body will get used to it. Once you are in the game, the plays will be automatic. I also think it is important to build endurance and strength because we play more than 50 games in a season. Also, if we improve our strength the ball that was hit off the fence last year might turn into a home run this year.
SCB: What was it like to be named to the 2010 PCSC All-Coastal Division First Team last season?
JN: It was incredible and a great honor because I play with so many talented players. It was also nice to see that all of my hard work paid off. It also gives me something to strive for this coming season. I am going to work even harder to achieve the same goal.
SCB: What are your post-graduation plans?
JN: Right now I am a little up in the air as to what I am going to do after graduation. I am planning to apply to law school, but I may take a year off. It would be nice to be able to travel and enjoy the world a little before taking on the challenges of law school!