Meet The Cardinal: Missy Penna

April 24, 2008

Missy Penna, the Cardinal's ace in the circle, is a junior from Miami, Fla. The Pac-10 leader in wins (29), Missy is just five victories short of the school's single-season win record. On Tuesday against San Jose State, she nabbed her 300th strikeout of the year and will be looking to become just the second player in school history to reach 800 for her career this weekend. One of 25 finalists for the USA Softball Player of the Year award and the defending Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, Missy boasts a 1.00 ERA, 306 K's and a .142 opposing average on the year.

What did you do over the summer?

Two of my sisters, a friend, and I went on our first multi-day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail for a total of about 10 days. The adventures started on the 20 hour greyhound bus trip (Miami to Georgia), and as it was our first time on the Greyhound, it was a rather a 'pleasant' surprise. My sister said she felt like throwing up from the smell emanating from some of the passengers, the guy behind us was performing some illicit deeds, and a guy was hobbling up and down the aisle screaming profanity at other innocent passengers. Once we got to Gainsville, Ga, we started at the official beginning of the trail in high spirits. We generally hiked between 10-12 miles a day, depending on the incline of the trail. Life was simple. We would wake up with the sun, hike for most of the day, and sleep when the sun went down (It was either sleep or stay awake with an empty and grumbling stomach). It was not all happy trails for us though, and when one is left hungry, dirty, cold, and exhausted, the worst in everyone is revealed. Alas, 10 days and 90 miles later, we made it to the North Carolina border, which was our planned destination. We were exhausted and filthy (no showers on the trail) on the bus ride home, and we realized that this time around, people were holding there noses to avoid our smell. Before we left the trail for civilization, I looked north along the trail I knew wouldn't end until Maine and thought, 'Someday.'

What interested you in being a Civil Engineering major?

I was first interested in civil engineering because I really like math and science, and I thought it would be fun to be part of the design and construction of structures. After I graduate, I hope be some sort of Civil Engineering co-term student here at Stanford. My favorite class so far has probably been Energy Efficient Buildings. It really opened my eyes to different ways that houses and buildings can become more environmentally sustainable, and I think that this is an issue that will only get more important in the future. My favorite project was a homemade video that Tricia and Anna (teammates) made for our Spanish class. It was modeled after the typical overly melodramatic Spanish soap operas, complete with a fortune teller, spirits, death, and a 'tramposa'.

What's been your best memory so far with Stanford softball?

Although there are many great memories I have about the team, the best memory I will have when I leave will be the camaraderie and friendships that have developed over the years with the other girls. We spend so much time practicing, playing, and studying together that the team becomes like a second family, and when this happens, great times are sure to follow.

What was it like to grow up is such a large family?

As the 4th child of ten, I have never known anything other than being part of a large family. People would call us the Brady Bunch or sometimes the Adam's family because if you called our house you might be lucky to the get Penna's family rendition of the Adams family song on the answering machine. We were home schooled in grade school, and sometimes people would ask us how we made friends (as if we were socially inept) because we didn't go to school. Although we did have other friends, often we just played among ourselves, as there was always some sibling who would play tag or go swimming with you.

What do you miss most about Miami that you can't get here? What's the biggest difference between here and Miami?

When we are playing or practicing in the cold and I'm looking up for the snowflakes to drop at any second, I just want the heat and humidity of Miami. One of the great things about here are the bicycle lanes in almost every street and the drivers who are conscious of the rights of bikers. Riding a bike in Miami is a death warrant.

Describe playing on the Dominican National Team.

I started playing on the team when I was 16, and it was a great experience, both on and off the field. Traveling around Central and South America, I was able to learn about and experience cultures in a way I never could back home. I was able to develop friendships with my countrywomen and had fun trying to communicate with them. Although I will no longer be playing with them so that I can focus on summer internships and jobs, I will always be grateful for the opportunities and experiences gained from the time I was with them.

Missy's outlook on the rest of the season:

'We will CRUSHH!!'

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