Jan. 10, 2014
Leading into the 2014 season, we will be posting Q&A’s with our four freshmen on rolltide.com. This week, we’re chatting with Marisa Runyon, a middle infielder from Myrtle Beach, S.C.
How did you get your start playing softball? Did you play any other sports growing up?
“I’ve played softball my whole life. My parents got me into both softball and basketball. My older brother Kyle played baseball and football too. My freshman year, I joined my travel ball team [Lady Lightning] and that’s what ultimately led me here to Alabama.”
At what point did you have to narrow down your focus to just softball?
“It was during my freshman year when I joined the travel team. I knew I wanted to play softball in college but I still wanted to play basketball in high school. I was worried that I was going to get hurt playing basketball, but I still played and thankfully that didn’t happen.”
When did you realize that playing collegiately was a real possibility?
“All my life, I knew I wanted to play at the next level, though I never knew exactly where I wanted to go. I had Division-I dreams and SEC dreams. When I joined the travel ball team, that’s when I knew I was capable of playing at a school like Alabama.”
What other schools were showing interest during your recruiting process?
“I was getting interest from a lot of places like South Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Michigan and Missouri. When I came here though, I knew it was where I wanted to be.”
What were your first impressions of the University of Alabama?
“Alabama was the only official visit I took. I was always told that I’d get the ‘warm fuzzies’ when I knew I had found he right place and that’s what happened when I came here. I loved the coaches, I loved the atmosphere and how welcoming the team was. The history of Alabama softball and the success they’ve had speaks for itself. That’s when I knew that this is where I wanted to spend my four years.”
When did you commit?
“I got the offer on a Saturday night and that Sunday before I left I told them I wanted to play here for four years.”
What were your parents’ reactions when you told them the news?
“They were so excited, they were in tears. They were very happy for me.”
Was it a relief to commit in your sophomore year and focus just on playing the remainder of your prep career?
“Definitely. I was able to have fun instead of being stressed out about choosing colleges.”
Was there any concern about going to a school that was somewhat far away?
“There was a little hesitation at first. I knew that I wanted to go to the best school I could and pursue my dreams. Being far from home was in the back of my mind sometimes but it’s only eight hours so it’s not that bad. Tuscaloosa is my second home and they treat me like family.”
What do you think makes you a SEC-caliber player?
“I think it’s the way I’m able to adapt. I’m very coachable. I didn’t know what to expect coming here, but I knew that it’s a successful program. I think being able to take tips and advice about everything will help me here. I’m very humble about everything I do.”
What was it like playing for Alabama during the fall season?
“It was so much fun. I knew I was going to have fun but the relationships I’ve built with my teammates and coaches have been awesome. They’re a family away from home. I’m so excited to get the season going.”
What are some of your goals for the season, both individually and as a team?
“Individually, I want to play but if I don’t, I’ll be happy for everyone that does. I want to make the SEC Academic Honor Roll and be an All-American. For the team, I want us to win the SEC and a national championship. That would be the ultimate goal. Really, I just want Alabama to be the team that everyone is scared to play.”
Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
“My grandpa Gary, who recently passed away, was one of my biggest fans. The minute I committed, he sent me a big package of Alabama stuff like stickers and pencils and we got him an Alabama sweatshirt. He was always one of my biggest fans.
“I also wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my travel ball coach, John Corn. He was my number-one fan during the recruiting process. He would go anywhere and do anything for me to get here.”
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