Inside Scoop: Ashley Hansen
Feb. 4, 2009
Ashley Hansen, a freshman infielder from Corona del Sol High School in Tempe, Ariz., will open her collegiate career in familiar territory this week when the team plays in the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State. A three-time first-team all-state selection, Hansen led her team to state runner-up finishes in 2006 and 2008. She brings a wealth of experience with the USA Softball program as well, having been a member of the USA Junior Team that won the Junior Pan Am Championship in Puerto Rico in 2006 and the Junior World Championship in Enschede, Holland in 2007. In September 2007, she was the only high school player invited to attend the USA Softball Selection Camp in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Describe your experience at the Olympic selection camp last year. Is there a player on the national team that you especially look up to?
The experience I had at the selection camp was unforgettable. When I received the letter from USA Softball, I was in complete shock. I kept rereading it looking for the 'junior' before the words 'women's national selection camp', but when I realized that it was for the actual Olympic team, I ran down and told my mom. It was such a great experience overall. At first, being the youngest one there, I was a little nervous taking the field with the people I grew up admiring, but as the week progressed and I got to know everyone, I realized that I had nothing to lose at this tryout and just had fun playing softball. One player that I particularly admire is a Stanford alum of course, Jessica Mendoza. I not only look up to how she plays the game but I also admire her accomplishments off the field and what she gives back to the community.
Describe your fellow freshmen for those of us who don't know them. What does each of the other five bring to the team?
The great class of 2012! I'll just go alphabetically here so, Jenna Becerra. She is an extremely talented player and will bring us a lot of versatility on the field. She has been moved around all over the place this fall and works hard at each and every position she plays. She brings a great personality off the field as well and is always laughing and cracking jokes. Maya Burns is another talented player with a lot of versatility. She is very vocal on the field (and off as well), and brings a great, light-hearted attitude to each and every practice. She has a great arm from behind the plate as well as in the outfield. Christina Goswiller has a ton of power at the plate and is a great first baseman. She is for the most part very quiet off the field but is one of the nicest girls you'll ever meet. Sarah Hassman brings tons of speed to our team. She is a tremendously talented outfielder and makes tough plays look easy. She is extremely funny and has the best sarcasm ever, giving her the nickname 'Sassman' for her sass. Mary Kate Smith is another powerful hitter at the plate. She is very outgoing and fun to be around off the field.
Tell us the story about chipping your tooth before the first fall game.
The day before our first fall game, we were practicing and hitters were taking live batting practice off Coach Al. Jenna hit a hard ground ball up the middle while I was playing short and as I went to field it, it took a nasty hop right into my mouth. I knew my lip was bleeding and then I realized part of my tooth was on my tongue. My parents were coming up to watch the games so conveniently they took me to the dentist the next day and I got it fixed in time for the game. Nothing like this has ever really happened before and looking back on it, it was a pretty funny freak accident.
Talk about playing your first college game back home in Arizona. How have you adjusted to life in California?
Playing my first college game in my hometown is very exciting. This is what I have spent the past 12 years of my life preparing for, and I couldn't be more ready to take the field in the Cardinal uniform than now. It will be very comforting having my family and friends in the stands cheering me on. Two years ago, I watched Stanford play for truly the first time at the Kajikawa Classic and it's still somewhat surreal knowing that I will be wearing the uniform now. I guess the biggest difference between Arizona and California would have to be the amazing weather year round here. It's nice being able to wear winter clothes for longer than 4 weeks.
You were a very highly recruited player out of high school and probably had a lot of college choices. So far, are you glad you chose Stanford? What have you enjoyed most about your college experience so far?
I knew three years ago when I stepped onto Stanford's campus for the first time that this was the place for me. And so far, that hasn't changed. The campus is absolutely beautiful and walking out of my dorm every morning to see Hoover Tower is always a good start to my day. I enjoy the challenge of the classes here and the professors are amazing and super supportive. Softball has been everything I could hope for and the team gets along so well and we all have so much fun together.
What's your outlook for the 2009 season?
I'm looking forward to this season. I think our team has a lot of talent and high expectations to reach the highest level we can. We have a lot of versatility, power and speed on both offense and defense. I can't wait to see where this season takes us!