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Model of consistency

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

Photos: University at Buffalo Athletics

Players take pride in being ready when their name is called. Being able to suit up, and get the call, every day makes a coach’s job easier.

Madison Fernimen is a model of consistency. In her four year career at the University at Buffalo, Fernimen has started in a remarkable 156 of 158 games. A lot goes into being available every day.

One of the big things for Fernimen is she has been able to stay healthy her entire career. She takes pride in being able to contribute, and help her teammates, everyday on the diamond.

“I have been blessed to play such a big role on this team. I think being a constant presence in the lineup it not just only a personal achievement but also a reflection on my commitment to this team,” stated Fernimen. “I think a lot of it has come down to my competitiveness and my preparation. It is a great feeling knowing that my teammates and coaches feel that they can count on me to get the job done no matter where they put me in the lineup. I take my role as a starter seriously in ensuring that both my coaches and my teammates know that I will give my best effort day in and day out.”

A streak like Fernimen’s comes with some luck as well. Staying healthy is a key importance. When she had offseason shoulder surgery, Fernimen knew she needed to get back on the field as soon as possible.

She didn’t want to let her teammates down. Softball is a grueling season both physically and mentality. It can take a toll on a player at times. Fernimen has a passion for the game that is unmatched, and that’s a big reason why she can push through some of the obstacles that are placed in her way.

“I take a lot of pride in being ready to go every single game. Season is long, and it really does bring a lot of tests, both physically and mentally,” stated Fernimen. “I think my passion for the game and this team is the reason why I am able to play through the physical obstacles that come up during season. Recovering from a shoulder surgery during the offseason really put into perspective how much I want to be on the field next to these girls.”

It has been quiet the journey for Fernimen. Fernimen always knew she wanted to play college softball, and she knew she wanted to play away from home. She didn’t know her softball journey would take her to Buffalo.

When the Hayden, Idaho visited UB for the first time, Fernimen knew this would be the right for her.

“Honestly if someone would have told me that I was going to end up playing college softball in Buffalo, New York I would not have believed them,” stated Fernimen. “I always knew that I wanted to experience living somewhere new away from home, and college was the perfect opportunity to do it. I thought to myself when else am I going to get an opportunity like this? I think this was definitely the perfect place for me to end up because I have met some of my best friends here in buffalo. I would not trade this experience for anything. I do believe that this was God’s plan for me because I have learned so much about myself here, I have met some incredible people, and I have gotten an amazing opportunity to play the sport I love.”

Her love of the game is shown every time she steps out on the diamond. When watching Fernimen play you will also see a constant smile on her face. She takes that love to the plate where she has gotten off to a hot start so far.

In the offseason, Fernimen has made some adjustments. It’s not as much what she has done in the batters box as she had done mentality. With all the experience she has gathered over the years, now Fernimen is putting that to good work.

“One of my biggest adjustments has been my mental approach. As a senior, I have

had a lot of experience over the years and I’ve gone into this year just kind of trusting all

the work that I’ve put in and continue to put in during practice and just kind of doing my

thing when I step in the box,” stated Fernimen. I put a lot of work in during the offseason to get my swing where it needed to be going into the season, it’s still a work in progress but I am confident with what I am bringing to the plate.”

Fernimen knows it’s impossible to be perfect. This is the only sport where you can go 3-for-10 and that’s considered hall of fame material. Yogi Berra once said that 50 percent of this game is 90 percent mental.

If you can’t get the mental part of your game right, than the rest won’t come as easy. Over the years, Fernimen has definitely worked on herself. She is an extremely competitive person, and sometimes that gets in her way.

Fernimen plays her best when she is confidence. And she is confident when she is prepared.

“I would say that one of my biggest obstacles over the past few years has been myself. I am an extremely competitive player and I am also extremely hard on myself. I think coming into this year with a lot of experience has helped bring a sense of confidence,” stated Fernimen. “I play my best when I feel confident. I think a big part of my confidence comes from my preparation. It is absolutely impossible to be perfect in this game, and that’s a hard pill to swallow for me. I take a lot of pride in what I do and I always strive to be the best that I can be, especially for the girls on the field with me. Knowing that my teammates have my back no matter what is truly a great feeling.”

On the field, Fernimen is counted on to play anywhere the coaches need her. That’s actually a pretty big responsibility knowing the coaches have the confidence in her to make plays wherever they put her.

Playing different positions is a mindset, and Fernimen brings the right midst to the field everyday. She could easily sulk, but instead she embraces the role, the challenge. She loves playing defense, and making plays for her team.

“I have always LOVED playing defense. No matter how I’m hitting during a game, it has always been important for me to be strong on defense. I’ve always been told that I have a very strong softball IQ which plays a big role in the field. Knowing what to do in certain situations without having anytime to react or think comes down to preparation and instinct. I also work very hard to prepare myself for every situation. As a competitor, I always push myself to be better on every rep. It also helps knowing there’s always competition for a spot on the field, so I use that as motivation to better my game,” stated Fernimen. “I think this comes down to my preparation. It’s an amazing feeling knowing I can be trusted to get the job done in multiple different roles on the field. I think the best mindset to have is doing whatever I can to help my team. I think it all comes down to feeling confident in myself to get the job done. I have played this sport for just about 17 years, so I have learned many different roles. Playing for the girls next to me has changed the game for me. It’s more important to me to get the job done for the ones next to me than for anyone else.”

Off the field, Fernimen is just as competitive. Balancing sports and academics has been hard at times. It takes a lot of time management, and dedication, to make sure you can cut it in the classroom.

Fernimen believes her planning and study habits have contributed to her success in the classroom.

“I’ve always taken pride in my academic performance. I have definitely been challenged trying to balance softball and school work. I think the biggest challenge has been figuring out time management. It is challenging, especially during season, when we are on the road to keep up with missed classes, lectures, and exams,” stated Fernimen. “My classes have progressively gotten harder, but I think my biggest success has come from my planning and studying habits. I have also found it extremely helpful to utilize my resources and seek help from my advisors, tutors, and professors.”

As her softball journey is coming to and end, Fernimen reflects on everything that is has meant to her. There have been some ups and downs, but Fernimen wouldn’t trade it for the world. She wouldn’t trade coming to Buffalo as a 17-year-old, who was trying to find herself.

She came to Buffalo and made some friends that she will keep for the rest of her life.

“I am truly blessed to have gotten this opportunity to play college softball at UB. I seriously think my softball journey here at Buffalo has been the best time of my life. My softball career has been filled with some of my best and worst moments, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” stated Fernimen. “I have been blessed with such amazing teammates all four years that I have been here. I have truly met some of my best friends for life here. I have struggled to figure out who I am outside of softball because it has been such a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. Getting the chance to play Division I college softball with such amazing teammates has been a dream come true. This is truly an experience I will never forget. I have learned a lot bout myself during these four years both on and off the field. I’ve developed so many skills and traits that I will use for the rest of my life.

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