Take a look at the statistical leaderboards from Penn softball’s 2015 season and one name appears over and over again: Jurie Joyner, Jurie Joyner, Jurie Joyner.
In her rookie season, the McDonough, Ga., native was the biggest contributor to the Quakers’ offense, racking up 33 RBI, 46 hits, six home runs, a .655 slugging percentage and a .387 batting average. All of those marks paced the team.
Joyner is the latest in a trend of outstanding rookies for Penn softball. In the 2014 season, outfielder Leah Allen, known for her menacing lefty swing, earned three Ivy League Rookie of the Week nods and ended her season as Ivy League and ECAC Rookie of the Year. As outstanding as Allen was for the Quakers on both offense and defense, Joyner is even better.
Though Joyner is only a freshman, she has already established herself as a top talent, not only for the Quakers, but in all of the Ivy League. She was voted a unanimous first-team All Ivy selection and took home Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Most recently, Joyner was named a first team ECAC All-Star as a designated player — the only Ivy Leaguer to earn a spot on the top team.
Joyner has only spent one year in the Red and Blue and her pile of awards and accolades is already mounting. With all of that recognition you would also expect mounting pressure. While there are certainly expectations that follow Joyner like a shadow as she walks from the dugout to the batter’s box for each at-bat in each game, she doesn’t mind the pressure.
“I kind of like it,” she said. “I try to calm myself down and stay positive and just remember that if I don’t do it one of my teammates will.”
Although given Joyner’s track record, it’s rare that she doesn’t perform at the plate. In 20 Ivy League contests, she only struck out a minuscule three times.
It would be hard to top such a stellar opening season, but Joyner doesn’t seem daunted by the prospect. She is confident in her abilities on the diamond and knows that the results will come if the work she puts in is steady. Looking ahead to next year, Joyner isn’t focused so much leading the Quakers in numbers or statistics; rather she wants to become a leader for her character.
“My freshman year, I kind of looked up to people and looked up to the leadership of the older girls,” Joyner said. “I kind of want to improve on that aspect where the freshman this year are able to look up to me.”
So what does being a leader mean to Joyner? It’s putting others first, it’s thinking about the big picture for the team with every play and every at bat.
“I also think a leader doesn’t have to be someone who tells people what to do or bosses them around or anything,” she said. “I want to be a leader even when I don’t say something.
“I lead by example.”
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