Things have not worked out quite according to plan for Ashley Brokeshoulder during her senior year at Texas Tech University. Yet Brokeshoulder, who has Choctaw and Absentee Shawnee ancestry, is remaining upbeat.
The 22-year-old righthanded pitcher is a member of the Texas Tech Red Raiders women's softball team. Brokeshoulder was hoping to have a major role with the Red Raiders this season. But she has only seen limited action in her final year of athletic eligibility because of a pre-season knee injury. Brokeshoulder tore the meniscus in her right knee during a team workout last August. She still hasn't fully recovered and continues to receive cortisone shots for her knee.
"I can't really feel much," she said. "And I can't really do much. I can't really run. I can't do leg lifting workouts."
Brokeshoulder had originally hoped her knee would be healed by now.
"I think I tried to come back too early," she said, adding she resumed practising with her team this past December. As a result, instead of being one of the club's key starters, Brokeshoulder has been forced to accept her role of seeing limited action when counted upon. She appeared in only eleven of the Red Raiders'gmaes. She pitched in only a 15 innings this season, giving up 17 hits. Her record was 0-2 and her ERA was 5.13. Compare that to her first three years at Texas Tech where she had a combined 18-6 record and a 3.31 ERA.
As for the Red Raiders, members of the Big 12 Conference, they got a big win today over No. 22/15 Baylor, their final regular season game. The win was their first over a ranked team, and it was their 30th for the season. Their four-season streak of winning at least 30 games is the longest in school history. Texas Tech had an overall record of 30-26. Now they wait to see if they'll land a postseason spot. The NCAA Selection Show will be held May 12 at 9 p.m/CT. ESPNU will air the event. (Check your local listings.)
"We're a young team," Brokeshoulder said. "We're kind of struggling."
It's a tough situation for Brokeshoulder to swallow, considering she was pumped to enjoy a stellar senior campaign. "I had actually worked out a lot this past summer and gained a lot of speed," she said.
Though she's hoping her team can earn a postseason selection and make some noise in the tournament, Brokeshoulder also realizes her student/athletes days are quickly coming to an end. But she doesn't seem too concerned over this fact.
"I'm excited to start something new," she said.
That something new is being simply a student. Brokeshoulder will return to Texas Tech this August as she will need to complete three more courses before she graduates from her nutrition science program. And then after that, she plans to continue nutrition studies at graduate school. For that she's considering attending Texas Tech, University of Colorado or Oklahoma State University (OSU). Brokeshoulder is from Shawnee, Oklahoma.
"I kind of want to be with my family," she said. "That's why I'm looking at OSU." She would also feel rather comfortable staying at Texas Tech.
"I think I would go here even if I wasn't playing softball," she said.
Brokeshoulder said it will be a bit different when she returns to finish up her current degree this August. "I guess I'll be a regular student, getting a job and focussing on school," she said. Brokeshoulder's hectic softball schedule has not allowed her to find any sort of part-time job during her first four years at the school. "There's no time," she said. "There's workouts and practise every day."