Jenna Ignowski is a senior pitcher on the Eastern Michigan University softball team. The Niles, Mich., native has been playing since she was eight years old.
Softball wasn’t her first choice. Ignowski said she was a multi-sport athlete before she made the decision to stick with softball.
“Growing up I played a lot of sports,” she said. “Volleyball, basketball, soccer, a little tennis here and there.
While attending high school, she decided softball was going to be the sport she stuck with through college.
“I knew that softball was where I was a little more gifted,” Ignowski said. “If I had a chance to go Division I in a sport and getting a scholarship, that was my sport to go in. Also I’m an aggressive person and my parents thought I would get hurt in some other sports, so [I chose it] to be a little more safe.”
Ignowski was always a pitcher, but she played two other positions as well when she was younger.
“Growing up, I always pitched,” Ignowski said. “But I also switched between first [base] and shortstop.”
Ignowski has also found a focus in the classroom, where she’s majoring in speech and language pathology.
Initially, she wasn’t sure about what to choose for a future career path.
“I came in here to college and I didn’t know what I wanted to be,” Ignowski said.
Ignowski’s mother helped her to choose the major she has now.
“My mom is a teacher and she said ‘I heard about this great field and everyone is saying that it’s so amazing and you should go into it and see what it’s like’ and I thought ‘ok,’” Ignowski said. “I had two family members who had to go to speech and language pathologists, and I thought that was pretty cool.”
When she goes back home, Ignowski always stops in at her favorite restaurant.
“There’s a restaurant at home called Hacienda and it’s a Mexican restaurant and I think I crave that the most [when I go home],” Ignowski said.
When she’s not on the field or in the classroom, Ignowski often goes to the movies.
“I’m a big movie buff,” Ignowski said. “I like to go to movies a lot. Recently, I’ve cut down. I used to go to movies two or three times a week. I love movies.”
Having seen all the movies she has, Ignowski finds it difficult to pick a favorite.
“People ask me this all the time,” she said. “But I can’t just pick one. I love all the movies.”
Ignowski’s teammates have good things to say about her. Senior shortstop Katy Blaharski is one of them.
“She’s a fighter,” Blaharski said. “She’ll always tell it like it is. She’ll say ‘Hey, you needed to make that play,’ but she’ll turn around and she’s your biggest fan too.”
Head coach Karen Baird has also taken notice of Ignowski and the improvements she’s made throughout her time at Eastern.
“It’s exciting to watch her say ‘I’m going to play,’” Baird said. “And [she’s] definitely developed this year mentally and she’s probably the strongest she’s been in four years. It’s exciting to watch and it’s definitely shown on the field.”