What's it take to start at the D1 level? Natural Talent? Okay. A great work ethic? Sure, but how many true freshmen get that opportunity? Not too many, but that's what makes Kenzi Goins a standout on the Wolf Pack softball team this year.
“We’ve asked a lot of Kenzi; when we first started the season she wasn’t in the starting lineup. I don’t know if people realize that,” said Head Coach Josh Taylor.
After an injury to Jennifer Purcell, Goins would make the starting lineup just five games into her freshman season.
“I was kind of comfortable, I was getting comfortable, I just wasn’t game mode ready…I didn’t feel like I was game mode ready when Jenn hurt herself. I just had to step up and I had to take the lead and I had to play that position,” Goins said.
She was asked to play first base, a position she had never played before.
“I’ve kind of been at short my whole life. I was a pitcher, I think every little kid was a pitcher, I was a catcher, I’ve played everywhere but first base” said Goins.
“We’re asking her to do something a little bit out of her element right now and she’s stepped into that role and really stepped up,” said Taylor.
But her high school career prepared Goins for the challenge. At Reed High School, Goins helped the Raiders to four consecutive regional championships and became a three-time all state shortstop in the process.
“Junior year we won state and it was the coolest experience ever. Like, I didn’t think that it would be what it was but it was, and I think it prepared me to come into college because you obviously played the best people in your state. You’re playing the best team in your state. So for me it was kind of a boost to get ready to come in here and see people that are also going to D1 schools,” said Goins.
With more than three years left at Nevada, Goins is embracing becoming a leader for the Lady Pack.
“I just try to lead by example in everything I do," she said. "I try to work hard and run to position and just be the best I can be. You know I like to work outside of practice as well. I like to just go hit extra and do everything I can to make myself better, which is eventually going to make my team better."