Austin freshman has 3-sport impactPublished 5:51pm Friday, May 3, 2013
When Shayley Vesel moved to Austin from La Crescent last summer, she hardly knew any of her fellow students.
Things have changed a lot since then.
After playing varsity volleyball in the fall, varsity basketball in the winter and varsity softball this spring for the Packers, there aren’t a lot of students Vesel doesn’t know.
“Volleyball season was the hardest,” said Vesel, who is a freshman. “I didn’t know anybody. Now I feel like I now everybody.”
Vesel pulled off the rare feat of playing at the varsity level in three team sports as a freshman for the Packers this year, but it’s hardly anything that was completely new to her. Vesel played all three sports on the varsity level at La Crescent High School as a seventh and eighth grader.
“It’s tough to be younger, but I kind of got used to it in the first year,” Vesel said. “It’s nice to meet a variety of different girls.”
While Vesel may be a freshman academically, her athleticism and maturity have made it hard for her opponents and even teammates to guess her age.
She definitely hasn’t taken any grief for being younger than her teammates and opponents.
“People usually look at me as really intimidating,” Vesel said.
Vesel also has the factor of her dad, Brett Vesel, being the football coach in her favor. She lifts weights with the football team and she’s even gone to a couple of practices and tossed the pigskin around.
“They think of me as a football player,” Vesel said.
Still, Vesel isn’t about to put on the pads and give up volleyball. She showed good signs as an outside hitter for the volleyball team, she played strong as a forward for the basketball team and she’s now been locked in as the starting shortstop and lead-off hitter for the softball team.
Austin Activities Director Lisa Quednow-Bickler coached Vesel this past summer on Austin’s U16 softball team and she could see Vesel’s athleticism almost immediately.
“Shayley’s a hard worker and her athleticism has been a help to our teams,” Quednow-Bickler said.
Vesel credited Austin’s seniors with helping her fit in this season, but there’s been times where she’s a little overwhelmed by the upper classmen.
“It’s tough to talk with the girls,” Vesel said. “I’m in a different grade, so we have to find different stuff to talk about. On the bus, I’ll still sit with the freshmen and talk to them.”
As far as her long term goals go, Vesel just wants to keep improving and she’d eventually like to play college softball.
The Packer softball team will play a doubleheader at Mankato East Monday at 4 p.m.