As a softball player, getting to the World Series, that was our goal every year, and to be able to achieve that two years out of my four kind of showed me that goals are achievable.
Two starting seasons as a catcher. Two more at shortstop and two Women’s College World Series appearances. That is not a bad career for former Mizzou Softball standout Jenna Marston. They are all even better achievements when taking into account that softball was never her best sport or her top choice when looking to continue her education and athletic career at Mizzou.
Marston, an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, grew up playing baseball, but baseball is a men’s sport at the collegiate level, so she chose softball. But while many would think that that is where her story ended, it in fact was just beginning. Little did she know that playing at Mizzou, a softball hotbed, would allow her to pursue her dream of playing professional baseball. It started with an appearance in the Women’s College World Series.
“As a softball player, getting to the World Series, that was our goal every year, and to be able to achieve that two years out of my four kind of showed me that goals are achievable,” Marston said. “So set them big, dream big, and hard work can get you there.”
Not only did the appearance in Oklahoma City make Marston realize that her dreams were attainable, it offered her the unique chance to pursue baseball thanks to the national exposure provided to her by playing softball at Mizzou. During a telecast of one of her games, the ESPN announce crew mentioned that she played baseball during high school. Luckily for Marston, the head of the USA Baseball Women’s National Team was watching. Not bad for a freshman at Mizzou who was now a member of the USA Baseball Women’s National Team.
Fast forward four years later, she was traveling the world with USA Baseball, starring on a team that played in the Women’s Baseball World Cup. Had she not been given the opportunity to play softball at Mizzou, she may never have ended up playing with the national team.
“It was just the right place for me and I’m glad I made this decision,” Marston said. “I have so many good memories.”
Individually, Marston was awarded 2010 USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year, after hitting .593 with eight doubles at the 2010 Women’s Baseball World Cup, all during her freshman year at Mizzou.
After guiding Mizzou to two College World Series appearances, Marston took her winning ways to the national team. She helped the Red, White & Blue win the Gold Medal at the 2015 Pan American Games with Silver Medals at the 2012 and 2014 Women’s Baseball World Cup. She pitched and was an infielder for the 2015 team.
All of that started on her official visit to Mizzou, when she knew that the institution could provide her with the best experience and exposure, both athletically and academically.
“It felt like home when I came on campus for my visit, the girls accepted me right away,” Marston said. “I was born and raised in Missouri so it was close to home and my parents were going to be able to come support me.”
Marston earned accolade after accolade while playing for Coach Ehren Earleywine. As a senior, she earned First Team All-SEC, Second Team NFCA All-Southeast Region and was a member of the SEC All-Tournament Team. She had many standout memories, but one over her archrival stands out the most.
As far as games go, there’s a couple I remember. My freshman year, a personal highlight, I hit a walk-off against KU. I always enjoy beating KU.
“As far as games go, there’s a couple I remember,” Marston said. “My freshman year, a personal highlight, I hit a walk-off against KU. I always enjoy beating KU.”
Her success was not limited to the diamond (softball or baseball) as she excelled in the classroom. As a senior, she earned CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America honors and was named SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year. She was also a Lowes Senior CLASS Award candidate.
Even with all of her accomplishments, she remains grateful for those who provided her with an opportunity to compete at Mizzou.
“Getting out of college and graduating without huge debt and then all the experiences I had while I was here is all thanks to the donors,” Marston said. “I mean, it’s something you can’t beat. Mizzou made me bleed Black & Gold.”
What does it mean to be #MizzouMade? That moniker has been a staple for Mizzou student-athletes for years. It is often associated with athletes who have excelled at the highest levels of their respective sports, but the true meaning runs much deeper.
While there are certainly examples of former Tigers excelling in professional athletics, there is a much larger contingent of Mizzou student-athletes thriving in today’s fast-paced, competitive work environment. What each of those student-athletes learned at Mizzou has prepared them for life beyond sports.
The mission of Mizzou Athletics remains to prepare champions for life through a personal enhancement model that emphasizes academic and athletic excellence, social responsibility, career development and leadership in order to help each student athlete become a prepared professional in any field upon earning their degree.
#MizzouMade Monday aims to tell those stories of student athletes who are bringing those values and ideals of Mizzou into the real world every day.