Nygren’s determination an asset to softball team

Sam Campanaro

Most little kids start playing a sport because their parents sign them up to play.

Jordanne Nygren was no exception. She started playing softball at the age of seven thanks to her mom and dad and cried because she hated it.

Now she’s completing her senior season at Minnesota and finds it funny that she has come this far.

In her four years with the Gophers, Nygren has not only come a long way in the game of softball, but in life as well.

“If you can get through this you can get through other stuff,” Nygren said.

Despite being the comic relief for the Gophers, the Farmington, N.M., native struggled with feeling fulfilled in many parts of her life during the first two years of her career at Minnesota.

Being a collegiate athlete was more difficult than Nygren expected.

After her sophomore season, Nygren decided to take a year off to sort things out in her personal life. Nygren is a deeply religious person and didn’t feel she was getting what she needed from her overall situation at the time.

“She was a little bit overwhelmed by the whole college setting,” co-head coach Lisa Bernstein said.

Being home for a year helped Nygren get everything in her life back on track. It helped her to grow up and figure out what college and softball were all about.

When she returned to the Gophers last season, Nygren made a switch from playing second base to third. She has embraced the challenge the position has posed.

Nygren admits she struggled through her third year, wondering why she wasn’t making plays on the left side of the diamond. She had to keep in mind what her coaches were telling her and play by that philosophy.

“It’s a reaction place,” Nygren said. “It’s a hot spot. Either you’re going to get it or you’re not.”

Now in her second year at third base, Nygren feels comfortable at the position. And not only can Nygren play well on the field, she is also an important asset to the team at the plate.

Nygren has hit 13 home runs and had 36 RBIs this season and moved into the leadoff spot for the Big Ten season.

Her overall style as a hitter makes her productive and helps to set the tone for the team on offense.

“She’s very powerful and explosive,” Bernstein said. “She has the ability to change the momentum of the ball game with the swing of the stick.”

With the full confidence of her coaches, Nygren has made strides toward figuring her life out both on and off the field.

Things fell into place for Nygren upon her return. She had a new understanding for college athletics, academics and about life in general.

Nygren credits her adjustment to the many lessons her coaches have taught her. She calls them “the best” and said they not only taught her about softball, but about life outside the game.

Whether she’s making people laugh or reflecting on life or softball, Nygren tries to make the best of it.

Now the crying little girl has evolved in life and softball to become a secure woman.

Nanchy, Watt injured

It is uncertain whether first baseman Hailee Nanchy and outfielder Stefanie Watt will play this weekend due to injuries.

Nanchy suffered a broken arm after being hit by a pitch while Watt was cleated in the knee, requiring stitches. Both injuries happened last Sunday during the Northwestern game.