As a senior All-American, outfielder Kris Lesovsky looks to continue leading the Tritons to the promised land. After being a part of the 2011 NCAA Division II national championship team, Lesovsky aims to repeat the feat in 2012. Already one of the greatest softball players in UCSD history Lesovksy hopes to continue to rewrite the record books as the team continues to implement newcomers and win games. UCSDtritons.com got a chance to catch up with Kris and here is what she had to say...
Q - Last season, your team won the Division II national championship. Describe what that experience was like.
Lesovsky - Winning the DII National Championship was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was a feeling of elation, pride, and relief. We had been working the hardest any of us have ever worked mentally and physically for eight months straight, and to end the season on a win made every ounce of sweat and soreness we had endured instantly worth it. We could not have won without the support of our friends, family, and alumni all in the stands at our Super Regional series, as well watching anxiously on their tvs and computers when we were in Virginia. The pride of bringing the Triton family together like that, as well as earning those championship rings, was the best championship I have ever had the privilege to be a part of.
Q - At what point of last season did you know the team had a chance to go all the way?
- For me, the point of last season that I knew that we could not only
compete in postseason but actually win a championship was at the West Regional
in Chico. We were all in sync with each other, and I'm not talking about just
on the field. We were as mentally and physically prepared as we could ever be,
and did not let the fear of losing hinder us at all. Comic relief was breaking
out all throughout that weekend, including stretching before practice in front
of the Chico dorms and hoping for a resident to start blasting music, and
having to huddle for shelter in the Chico baseball locker room during an
intense game-delaying lightening storm. Having the ability to enjoy our ride
through postseason was a necessity because everyone was relaxed and confident,
especially the coaching staff. Once I realized that we all had this ability to
relax and enjoy the game we loved even through the stressful postseason, I knew
we could win it all.
Q - You're listed at the top of the UCSD career record book in walks, doubles and currently batting average. Did you ever think when you came to UCSD you'd go down as one of the best players in the program's history?
Lesovsky - When I first transferred to UCSD I did not know what to expect. I was coming off half a season of freshman experience in a completely different conference on the other side of the country. It's funny because I had never been to the UCSD campus or seen any type of UCSD softball, and the coaches had never seen me play in real life either (recruiting DVD's don't count!). All I wanted to do was prove myself to the coaches and show them that they had not made a mistake in signing a freshman who was desperate to transfer. Ever since then I've just been trying to keep up with my sophomore-year self!
Q - Why did you transfer from Florida Tech to UCSD four years ago?
- Throughout my softball life, my ultimate goal has been to play softball
competitively at the collegiate level. So when our season got cancelled in
March of my freshman year at Florida Tech, I knew it was no longer the right
fit for me. Most of that team was not returning for the following season, which
meant that my precious final years of playing softball would be spent
rebuilding the team that was unable to compete my first year. When I learned of
this predicament, I started sending out emails and recruiting DVDs as soon as I
could. And as Coach G always says, everything happens for a reason.
Q - Your team lost a number of key players due to graduation - Katrin Gabriel, Jenn De Fazio, Sarah Woofter. What are some differences between last year's team and this year's team, and who have you seen step up to fill the shoes of last year's seniors?
- First of all, you are right. The seniors we lost were great softball
players as well as incredible teammates. Replacing them has not been easy, but
so many people have stepped up this year. This year we have had more people
contributing throughout the entire lineup, which is wonderful because no matter
where we are in the batting order, in the bottom of the 7th with the
winning run on third we know whoever is up is going to come through for us. In
terms of filling the shoes of the graduating seniors from last year, Emily McQuaid has definitely stepped up and has been
an amazing 3rd baseman for us. Freshmen Monique Portugal and Maria
Sykes have been playing games much higher than their grade levels at 2nd
base and the outfield. And Tess Granath, who was primarily a pitcher last year,
has learned the position of left field and has been contributing both
defensively and offensively this year.
Q - You lead the program in career batting average, as well as career walks. What is your mindset at the plate? Do you go up there with a particular strategy?
- At the plate, my mindset is just to get a hit. Just a single. Every
time I step up to the plate, that's what I tell myself. Sometimes I forget, of
course, and just go up swinging for the fences (which almost never works) but
the next at bat I try to get back to that steady strategy. It's really just a
way to stay relaxed and let the muscle memory take over. I try not to think too
much up at the plate, and if I start thinking too much about trying not to
think too much, I pick a song and sing it in my head. J
Q - If you had to give any advice to a high school player who wanted to play collegiate softball, what would your advice be?
- My advice to a high school player wanting to play collegiate softball
is to relax throughout the whole recruiting process. You will get seen,
especially when you least expect it. Having an open mind and a welcoming
attitude helps too, as coaches watch you both on and off the field. Know what
you want in terms of school location, small or large student population, major/area
of studies, etc. and be proactive. Write to the top schools on your list
yourself (don't have your parents do it for you) and let them know your game
times at upcoming tournaments. And believe in yourself.
Q - What's it like playing for head coach Patti Gerckens?
Lesovsky - Coach G has been one of the best coaches I could have played for for four years. She eats, sleeps, and breathes UCSD softball, so it's easy to trust the decisions she makes on the field because you know that she has dwelled over each and every one of them and knows it is the right choice. We are such a close team, and Coach G emphasizes the family aspect; I know I can count on her for whatever I need at that time, whether it's a friendly joke or dance move to lighten the mood or a listening ear.
Q - Why is Camille Gaito such a good pitcher?
- Camille is such a good pitcher because I can see every pitch she throws
(I play directly behind her in center field), and being her pitching coach I
can immediately tell her that she can't throw ____ pitch right down the middle.
With that easy adjustment and my sound advice, Camille is one of the best
pitchers in DII.
Q - When not playing softball, what do you enjoy doing around San Diego?
- When not playing softball, working, or studying, I enjoy San Diego just
like everyone else. I love hiking Torrey Pines, running on the beach, drinking
Starbucks coffee, and reading.
Q - What do you think the future has in store for you after graduation? What do you want to do?
- After graduation, I am planning on enrolling in an interpreter's
program for American Sign Language/English interpreting. I'm not sure where
yet-San Diego, near home (LA), up north, a different state? Right now the plan
is to enjoy working in San Diego at least until my lease is up with my
apartment complex in September. And to watch my baby sister Brynn play in the
CCAA next year as a catcher for Chico State J
Q - Who were some of your greatest influences growing up? Who helped you become a quality softball player the most?
Lesovsky - The people that influenced me the most growing up were my parents (of course), my travel ball softball coach Phil Bruder (California Raiders), and my sister Brynn. My parents taught me that my dedication to softball (practicing, playing games on the weekends, going to sleep early while my friends were at the movies) would pay off in the future. I owe almost all of my physical skills in hitting to Phil Bruder, and my diving abilities in the outfield to his wife Raleen. Finally, although I'm sure she doesn't know this, my youngest sister Brynn has taught me that no matter what I'm feeling about a particular performance on the field, there is always someone who believes in you. I pride myself on trying to be a good role model for her, so by knowing that she is watching every move I make, I try to be a better player and person.
Q - What don't people know about you?
Lesovsky - I want to be a beekeeper when I grow up.
Previous Q & A Articles
Brian Donohoe (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2011
Roxanne Brunsting (Women's Volleyball) August 19, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Jon Pascale (Men's Soccer) August 4, 2011
Vincent Nguyen (Tennis) July 1, 2011
Patti Gerckens (Softball) May 26, 2011
Blake Tagmyer (Baseball) May 11, 2011
Theresa Richards (Women's Track & Field) April 27, 2011
Austin West (Men's Tennis) April 17, 2011
Matt Herman (Men's Swimming & Diving) March 12, 2011
Christine Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010