In Elena Bowman’s three years at Manhattan College, she has become one of the most valuable players on the softball team. Recently her list of accomplishments grew as she was named MAAC Preseason Player of the Year.
She was the starting catcher for 52 out of 55 games last season. In 2013, she led the team with 13 home runs – breaking the second highest program record of 12 – which coincidentally she had set in 2012.
“She makes our pitchers better by the way she runs the game,” Jaspers head coach Tom Pardalis said. “It’s like having another coach. She has a great softball IQ and commands leadership.”
She’s been playing softball since she was eight years old and plans to become a coach after college, including fulfilling her dream of opening her own batting cage. For right now, she’s enjoying a handful of successes.
Senior captain Amanda Paxon said Bowman’s loud and outgoing personality translates into her success on the field.
“She’s constantly working hard at making herself better,” Paxon said, “and making others better too.”
In Bowman’s eyes, this recognition is an honor and also motivation to keep excelling.
“It’s so exciting, and definitely a great pat on the back,” she said. “But I know I can still improve and that we have a long road ahead this season.”
Last season, the Jaspers made it to the championship after winning four playoff games in two days. That tournament is Bowman’s proudest memory of the past three years, since the team showed so much heart.
Aside from the recognition and successes, her greatest motivation comes from the people around her.
“I’ve learned how to work hard from my coach and my teammates because we stay together. We believe in each other,” Bowman said. “We always say ‘18 strong’ because there’s 18 of us and every single player has a purpose.”
In the 2015 preseason poll, the Jaspers were predicted to come in fourth place, which is the highest they’ve ever gotten. Bowman said it definitely shows the level of respect they’ve earned over the years, but there’s still plenty of room to step up their game
Win or lose she’ll be happy as long as they give it their best effort.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where we were placed,” Bowman said. “It’s about how much we tried.”