'We can't be afraid'

Facing state softball contests with confidence, perspective

May 14, 2008

Glenelg senior centerfielder Ashley McGlynn is making the most of her final days of high school. The highlight for her so far was being named the prom queen, but not far behind was helping the Gladiators capture the county championship last Wednesday with a 3-1 upset win over defending county champ and Class 2A state champ Hammond. McGlynn had two singles off All-Metro sophomore pitcher Stephanie Speierman, drove in one run and scored the game-winning run. The Gladiators lost to Hammond, 9-0, during the regular season. Along with softball, McGlynn was a forward on the Gladiators' soccer team, playing a role in two straight state championships. She also was a member of the school's indoor track team, competing in the 200 and 400 the past three years. McGlynn, who has a 3.4 grade point average, plans to attend James Madison University and is considering majoring in health science. She's an avid Ravens and Orioles fan.

What was it like winning the county championship?

That was amazing! It was crazy. I had never won one before - in soccer either. I think the past couple games we played Hammond, we were afraid because we knew [Speierman] was so good. On the bus ride there, we were like: "No one thinks we can do it, but we can do it." We had nothing to lose, so we just wanted to put all our effort into it.

What was your role as a captain this year?

This year, it was a lot. Last year, the chemistry was great. We weren't like just teammates, we were all friends. This year, we have so many freshmen - like five. So Melinda [Kunze], Jackie [Richardson] and I are captains, and we had to bring the team together. We've been going out to eat and getting together outside of softball to become not just players on the team, but friends. And I really think we've accomplished that this year, definitely. We're all friends and the chemistry has become really good. Last year, it was really hard saying goodbye to all the seniors because we were all good friends. So we wanted to try to get it back like last year and get the whole team together. We have some shy players who we've been trying to get out of their bubble, and we've done that.

How can winning the county championship over Hammond help you win in the playoff run?

It has definitely boosted our confidence a lot because we know if we can beat them we can go all the way. But we can't be overconfident at all. We have to take each game each day and can't think about the future. Just each game one at a time - that's what we did in soccer, too. We have to be focused, stay together as a team - no errors. We can't be afraid. I think the past couple games we played Hammond we were afraid because we knew [Speierman] was so good. We just have to calm down and believe in ourselves.

How can the state tournament experience in soccer help you in softball?

You know every game can be your last one. That's scary because I don't want it to be the last one. The pressure is just crazy - every game - we have to just keep going.

What was the feeling like right after the final whistle to win this year's state soccer title?

It was amazing. Everybody charged the field, and knowing that you're the state champion is unbelievable. We won it my junior year and senior year in soccer, so I want to win one in softball.

What's the best part about being a senior?

You're ruling the school - I love it! It's like no more cliques anymore. There's still some, but everybody is going to be leaving so we're all friends. And I've come out of my shell a little this year - I've loved my senior year.

What will you remember most about your senior year?

I'd have to say the prom. I got prom queen, which was awesome; it was so cool. This is Glenelg's 50th graduating class, and my grandmother was in the first graduating class here and she got prom queen, too. So 50 years later, that was really cool. That moment was like: "Oh my God." I started tearing up - it was amazing.

What's one thing you won't miss about high school?

I won't miss getting up at 6 o'clock every morning.

What is the best advice you've received?

I'd say to be yourself. Don't try to be somebody else to get with other people. You have to be yourself and know your true friends.

Glenn Graham

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