Senior softball outfielder Jacklyn Molenaar had a long, unique road to Texas State. As her college career nears its end, she reflects on the journey and looks toward the future.
Molenaar began her collegiate softball career at Tyler Junior College, where she earned first team All-East Zone Conference and second team All-Region XIV. She transferred to Galveston Junior College her sophomore year and helped the team to a 47-12 overall record.
“It was rocky, but I don’t regret anything I’ve been through or done,” Molenaar said. “I’m glad I ended up here. It’s been a great experience honestly.”
Molenaar decided to transfer to Texas State for her junior year. The university location played a role in her decision.
“I really love Central Texas and the area,” Molenaar said. “There’s the river, how can you not love the river? And It’s not too far from home but it’s far enough so my parents can’t be here every day.”
The senior outfielder comes from an athletic family with both her father and brother playing sports. Molenaar, however, was the only one in the family to pursue sports at a collegiate level.
“I was really the athlete in my family,” Molenaar said. “My brothers played baseball, my dad was an athlete growing up, but I was the only one to go to college for sports.”
Molenaar spent much of her childhood involved in competitive cheerleading and it was not until her parents suggested a change that she picked up softball.
“I started off with competitive cheerleading until I was 11,” Molenaar said. “My brother always played baseball, so my parents were like ‘Why don’t you try softball?’ and then I just fell into it and fell into the rhythm of softball.”
Under the guidance of Head Coach Ricci Woodard, Molennar has improved as a player and now feels comfortable in her environment.
“She’s just been fun to watch grow,” Woodard said. “Since she’s gotten here she’s just kind of gotten out her shell a little bit and gotten better and better.”
The transition from junior college athletics level presented a challenge for Molenaar, one Coach Woodard feels Molenaar is finally able to enjoy.
“I think she’s starting to enjoy moments, cause it’s a big adjustment going from the junior college world to this,” Woodard said. “She’s just one of those players that you can tell is trying to enjoy the moment as much as possible.”
Molenaar has enjoyed her time under Woodard and Molenaar believes she and the other players on the team will be better for that time.
“It’s fun, she’s a fun coach,” Molenaar said. “She’ll joke around with us here and there but when it’s time to get serious she gets serious. At the end of the day she just wants us to be better people and I truly believe she’s sending us out in the world to be better people and better women in society.”
With her time as a Bobcat coming to an end, Molenaar plans to work as both a teacher and a coach, keeping softball a part of her future.
“I’m trying to be a teacher, getting my teacher certification here at Texas State,” Molenaar said. “That’s the plan, teacher, coach.”
As an experienced player at the end of her collegiate career, Molenaar has a few words of advice for the Bobcat softball players she is leaving behind.
“Just stay relaxed, play the game one pitch at a time,” Molenaar said. “Mainly stay relaxed, don’t let the highs get too high and don’t let the lows get too low.”