Q&A with Stephanie Harris
Sophomore Stephanie Harris and the Virginia softball team continue Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend with a three-game set at rival Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers and Hokies will play a doubleheader at 12 p.m. Saturday and conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday in Blacksburg, Va. Harris, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the season, playing with her younger sister at Virginia, balancing softball with being a nursing major and what she likes to do for fun.
Question: What has been the focus of this week in practice?
Harris: As a team, we have been specifically working on our hitting. We have to make adjustments faster. A big focus this week has been adjusting mid-at bat. Otherwise, we have to make big plays. Some of us have been thrown into different positions so we just need to get some reps and feel comfortable. This weekend we have to come out with fire under us.
Question: How would you describe the season up to this point in time?
Harris: We have had some really good highs and really bad lows. We have to figure out how to be more consistent.
Question: What has your role been this season?
Harris: There are different roles on the team; sometimes you have to lead and sometimes you have to follow. We have a lot of leaders right now but I always notice when something is not going right with one of my teammates. I know what it was like last year. I try to spend my energy helping to pick everybody up when they need it.
Question: What is it like being teammates again with your younger sister, Megan?
Harris: It’s exciting. I have played with her a long time and I really think we compliment each other and help each other on the field. I have always loved playing with her. She is naturally a good hitter. I know when she is up to bat there is a really good chance of getting a hit.
Question: What made you decide to come to UVa?
Harris: It seemed like a really great fit. Virginia has a great nursing program and the softball team is headed in the right direction with a great ability to grow. Those were the main things for me.
Question: Have you always wanted to go into nursing?
Harris: I did a clinical my senior year of high school and after that called up UVa and asked if I could try to get into the nursing program. All of my professors and coaches have been great with allowing me to balance both nursing and softball.
Question: How do you balance the rigors of softball and your major?
Harris: You change outfits about three times a day but other than that, the two are very similar. You are helping people and working together. They both really compliment each other. Running around – it can be stressful. But as long as I balance it and eat and sleep well, it’s fine.
Question: Have you had a favorite class at UVa thus far?
Harris: I have really enjoyed my nursing classes but my first biology class last year was my favorite. Next year, third year, is going to be my hardest for sure.
Question: You have played in a lot of different positions for Virginia: first base, third base and outfield. What is your favorite?
Harris: I have played first base for a long time so I am comfortable there. I also really like diving for balls in the outfield, so I can’t say I have a favorite. I will play anywhere Coach (Schmidt) decides to put me.
Question: Do you have a favorite venue where you have played?
Harris: It’s not any specific school, but the bigger the stage with the most fans always gets me pumped. I played in Oklahoma City at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex, where the Women’s College World Series is held. It was an amazing experience. It would be great for us to get back to Regionals and play on the big stage in the NCAA Tournament.
Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Harris: I enjoy hanging out with my family and going to visit my sisters. One is at NC State and the other is in Connecticut. I go and visit her and we go into New York City and shop. I also love to tube on the river and scrapbook. This summer I am going to try and volunteer with assisted living back home.