Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Catching Up With ETSU's Whitley Hensley About the Importance of SAAC

This two-time Atlantic Sun All-Academic Team member (2010, 2011) and Atlantic Sun Conference Scholar-Athlete (2011) played in 74 games over the past two seasons, starting 54 of them. As a sophomore, Hensley ranked second on team with seven doubles last season, and reached base safely in 10 consecutive games from 2/18-3/4. Hensley is battling injury to begin the 2012 season, but is expected back within the next few weeks.

A-Sun: Why do you work with SAAC?

WH: I work with SAAC because I am a representative of the softball team, and enjoy being a part of a program that focuses on the well-being of all student-athletes.

A-Sun: What is SAAC’s role on campus?

WH: The SAAC here at ETSU works in many areas on campus. We are always trying to find ways to involve all students with our athletic teams and get them to support every sport. We also put together several fundraisers for charities in our area. We try to be involved in all aspects of our campus life, so that way we can enrich the experience for all student-athletes at ETSU.

A-Sun: What is the most rewarding community service project you have done with SAAC?

WH: Right now we are working on a dodge ball tournament, and a date night auction that all the athletes are going to get to participate in. These have not yet taken place, but being a part of the committees from the beginning until the event has and will be the most rewarding. This has given me a chance to take a leadership position and help out my community.

A-Sun: Why did you choose to attend ETSU and to play for an A-Sun team?

WH: I chose to play for ETSU for several reasons. It helped ETSU is right in my back yard so I was able to stay close to home; ETSU also offered another family for me as well. Our team is basically a family and that meant so much to me to be a part of. The ETSU softball team is also based on many values that are aligned with my own; we have a great coaching staff that focuses on making all of us better as athletes and better as people. ETSU also had a selling point because of being a part of the A-Sun conference. The A-Sun is composed of great teams that offer great competition.

A-Sun: What does a typical day for you as a Buccaneer entail?

WH: As every other student athlete does, I go to class in the morning because I am a student first. I actually enjoy going to class, because I am an exercise science major and we work very closely with the athletic programs. It’s nice to always be around our sports. From there, I have practice and strength and conditioning almost every day of the week, but there is also the rewarding factor of being a Buc. Here at ETSU, all the athletes know each other so it’s nice to walk down the halls of the Dome and see all my friends. Our faculty and staff are also a rewarding part of playing here, as they are always friendly and always up for some sports talk.

A-Sun: How do you envision SAAC’s role in the Johnson City community in the future?

WH: As a member of SAAC, I believe that we can make an impact on the Johnson City community with our community service projects. We are currently trying to raise money for Marsh – which is a local company who gives blood to hospitals to help save lives. By having this relationship with them, I believe that the community will see an impact the student-athletes have on this area, and in return, will support all of our athletic teams.

A-Sun: What is your favorite part about softball or favorite part of being a student-athlete?

WH: I love the fact that softball has taken me to so many places that I never would have gone before. Even though when we are on the road and are focused on playing ball, it is still very nice to see different parts of the country. I have been to several places in Florida, California, and this year we are heading to a part of Alabama I have never been before. As cheesy as this sounds, softball has given me lifelong friends. On the road, we not only go to all these places, but we are on extremely long bus rides which make us a little family.

A-Sun: What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

WH: Even though school and ball take up most of my time, I enjoy cooking and baking in my spare time. It’s like a little escape from my everyday life. I try to cook for myself or my roommates every night— it makes it feel more like home.

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