BY HALEY HANSON | EDITORIAL INTERN
Since middle school, I have loved every minute of watching college softball, especially at the University of Washington. Currently, the Huskies softball team is ranked fifth in the nation. They are playing in post season right now and are hoping to bring home the title of the Women’s College World Series Championship, as the last time they won was in 2009. I was lucky enough to get in touch with Taryn Atlee, the second basemen, through my former high school teammate. I love the energy and spark that Atlee brings to the field which led me to reach out to her.
Taryn grew up in Sacramento, California. She played many sports growing up but, softball stayed with her. Her commitment and love for softball allowed her to focus on this as her main sport while playing travel ball and high school ball. As a sophomore and a transfer from Rutgers University, Taryn is the starting second basemen for the Huskies and loves to be around her best friends every day and loves to compete. Taryn reminds me of myself. She also played high school basketball and softball. The way she carries herself on and off the field is how I strive to be someday. A lot of little girls look up to her as a role model and someday I hope to be like that also. Every time she makes an amazing play the fans go crazy and so do all the girls with their signs. Interviewing Taryn and learning about her goals and passions inspired me to become a better person and athlete because her dedication makes her an amazing athlete to look up to in women’s athletics.
“Any chance I get to have to compete, I’m all in and being a part of the team allows me to do that against some of the best competition in the world.” – Taryn Atlee
Haley: Why do you love softball?
Taryn: I love softball because it has given me friendships and memories that will last me a lifetime. I’ve learned lessons that have helped me grow aside from the playing field and brought me opportunities that I never would have gotten if it weren’t for the sport.
H: Why did you transfer from Rutgers to UW?
T: I transferred from Rutgers to Washington because I’ve always wanted to play for the University of Washington ever since I was a little girl. Everything this university has to offer felt like it was a perfect fit. The tradition, the togetherness, the curriculum and of course the softball program is everything I wanted for my college experience.
H: What is your favorite softball memory ever?
T: One of my favorite softball memories ever from this year has been hitting a walk off double to beat Arizona and take the series in the bottom of the eighth inning. Anytime I can contribute to help my team is something I always want to be doing and to share a big moment like that with this team was something special.
H: What type of knee surgery did you have your junior year of high school? How was recovery?
T: I had Orthoscopic knee surgery my junior year to remove bone chips and inflamed tissue and fluid in my knee. I injured my knee while playing basketball. Just like any injury it was tough to physically come back as well as mentally. I overcame it by having the best support system in the world by keeping me hopeful and by just having the mindset to stay motivated and look at the bigger picture. Every setback is a pathway for a great comeback.
H: If you could meet any softball player dead or alive who would it be and why?
T: I had the opportunity this year to meet a player I had looked up to my whole life and that was Natasha Waltey. She was so much fun to watch compete and truly inspired me to get to where I am at. She stemmed the passion and love I have for this game watching hers.
H: What is it like being a part of the Philippines National Team?
T: It’s an incredible experience being a part of the Philippines National Team. I get to interact with girls that come from different backgrounds and different countries but, they all come together with the same love and passion for the game which is really cool. Any chance I get to have to compete, I’m all in and being a part of the team allows me to do that against some of the best competition in the world.
“Playing for the University of Washington has been everything I could ever dream of and more.”
H: How do you prepare yourself for games?
T: I prepare myself for games by mentally visualizing positive outcomes and past positive outcomes. I firmly believe that the mind is powerful and what you feed it creates and produces your outcome. I also like to stay loose and have fun. Music and my teammates do that for me. If you consider dancing and singing preparing for a game, then that’s also a big part of my preparation.
Haley: What advice would you give young athletes?
T: My advice for young athletes would be to dream big and then set a goal and work hard to achieve it. I think there’s nothing more important than to be passionate and have work ethic. That combination is unstoppable. You can just want something, you have to tell yourself that you need it. And if you commit yourself to working with that mentality, you can do almost anything.
H: Favorite thing about UW?
T: My favorite thing about UW would absolutely be my team. Playing for the University of Washington has been everything I could ever dream of and more. My teammates are my why. They push me and inspire me in every area of my life and they make every day a day to be better and get better. My coaches also push me to be a better me. It’s an incredible environment to be pushed to grow in every area of your life.
Taryn is a student athlete I dream to be as I am working hard for my dream of competing as a college athlete. She has the same passion and desire for the game as I do. I loved talking with Taryn and learning about her and how Washington has welcomed her. I am excited to continue to play sports through my senior year of high school and to cherish every moment I have with my teammates. I am excited for college and to see what it all has in store for me. The Washington Huskies Softball Team is one of the best teams to watch growing up. Their love and passion for the game of softball strive me to be a better person, teammate, and they push me to be a valuable player. Taryn is so fun to watch with her intensity she brings to the field and the excitement she brings to the team and to the fans! Wish them luck as they head to the Super Regionals! Go Purple. Be Gold.
Each month, one of our interns will interview a former athlete and current leader. Our mission is to connect our girl athletes to experienced ones, to tell the stories of our women’s sports community, and to inspire her own voice. Interested in joining our Editorial Internship Program in the fall? Send a brief letter of interest to email@example.com by October10, 2018.