Harre has USA credentials

By Gus Bode

SIU softball pitcher Amy Harre sat down with Gabe House of the Daily Egyptian to discuss her experiences with the USA Softball team and how it will help her in her senior season with the Salukis.

Daily Egyptian:What was it like playing on the USA Elite Team?

Amy Harre:It was fun. It was a very good opportunity and a good chance to compete with some of the best players in the country. It was just a good learning opportunity and that’s how I’ve tried to use it.

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DE:How will that experience help you in your final season at SIU?

AH:I’ve got to meet a lot of coaches and work with them. A lot of coaches have different ways of getting something across, and I hope to use those little key bits of information to carry over in this season and advance from there.

DE:Were you surprised to be one of only 40 athletes named to USA Softball’s 2005 Collegiate Player of the Year watch list?

AH:First of all, I didn’t even know there was such a thing until [SIU head coach] Kerri [Blaylock] told me. I knew there was a player of the year, but I didn’t know there was a watch list. I know what it takes, and it’s going to take all of my 18 teammates to go out and play and do the best we can. We’ll see what happens.

DE:Have you given any thought to a professional career after your time at SIU?

AH:Right now my number one priority and goal is to stick with the USA team, whatever that entails. But yeah, I’m definitely looking professional. I’m exploring and pursuing professional options.

DE:What exactly do the preseason rankings mean to you coming into this season?

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AH:It’s nice to have respect from your peers. Those are the ones picking and judging those. But I don’t know, when [Blaylock] told us in practice if it’s been mentioned again among us. It doesn’t mean anything until you prove it between the white lines this summer. Hopefully, we’ll be able to stay in that Top 25.

DE:So what do you think the Salukis’ chances are of making three straight NCAA Tournament appearances?

AH:I truly believe that with the returning people we have and the incoming freshmen, the chemistry we have is a very nice mix, not even just the girls as individuals and people, but their attitudes and knowledge of the game. Everybody brings something to the table, so I think it’s very doable, a very realistic goal. It’s one of our major goals this year.

DE:As one of four seniors on the team, do you welcome that leadership role?

AH:Yeah, all four of us have been around all four years with [Blaylock], and I think we know a little bit more of the ins and outs of the system. With the other kids, we can guide them and say, ‘I’ve been there, I know what that’s like.’ That’s what I try to do sometimes with the pitchers. If a home run is hit off them or they have a bad practice, I try to say we’ve all been there. There are many peaks and valleys throughout this long season.

DE:Finally, do you think the Salukis will be back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference champions?

AH:Well, I hope so! We go out and work everyday to do that and to meet those goals. We have the talent, the capability, the work ethic and the attitude. It’s just going out there and winning.

Reporter Gabe House can be reached at [email protected]

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