Past coaches and teammates told Tara Kimberly she was too small to succeed and some passed her over, not seeing her potential, but she proved them all wrong. It wasn’t magic or formulated sports medicine that helped her aim to new heights, but a drive to thrive and a devotion to softball.
Kimberly, starting pitcher for the University of Wisconsin-Stout, began her softball career at 5 years young. Her whole family was involved in baseball and softball. Before her high school career, Kimberly was told she was too small and not fast enough to be successful in softball; this doubt only fueled her motivation.
Kimberly tried out as pitcher during her freshman year in high school. She played as varsity pitcher for all four years at her high school in Baldwin, Wis.
“When people doubted me in the past, I grew so motivated,” said Kimberly. Along with softball, Kimberly competed in basketball and volleyball throughout her high school career.
Coming to Stout, Kimberly was one of the highlighted starting pitchers for the Blue Devils and her passion for softball grew stronger. “I really enjoy pitching,” said Kimberly, “It’s cool how I can control the pace of the game. I’m kind of a control freak and this position gives me all of that control.” With this control also comes dedication and hard work. “We play because we truly love the sport. We put so much time and energy into it all. You won’t last if you don’t love it; otherwise you are just wasting time.”
With the season under way, Kimberly has earned the UW-Stout Scholar Athlete Award. In 2011, she made 23 appearances, started eight games and earned a 4-8 record as well as pitched eight strike outs in the game vs. Northwestern University. These statistics proved to Kimberly that she can make it as a Division III pitcher. Statistics, however, don’t matter as much as to the team itself. “This sport is about my team,” said Kimberly.
“We all connect really well,” said Kimberly, “This year we have had one of the best seasons in the conference. I love how we all work together and respect each other. This creates a strong team bond which translates on the field.”
Unfortunately, this is Kimberly’s last season with the Blue Devils. “I’m going to miss the game,” said Kimberly, “I will especially miss the stuff that we did as teammates when we were all exhausted—those crazy times when we would all hang out.” Kimberly plans on graduating next spring with a degree in science education degree. Along with pursuing her future goals, she wants to become a coach.
“I’m so proud of what she has accomplished,” said Coach Chris Stainer, “both as an athlete and as a student.” I know it means a lot to Tara for the team to have fun and be successful.” said Coach Stainer, “She has been a huge reason for this year’s success, and I feel very confident that when Tara takes her final steps off the field she can hold her head up high, knowing she gave her very best. No regrets! Her cleats will be hard to fill.”