Profile on ORHS softball player, Veronica Villafranco

By: Doug Sarant
| Published 04/20/2015

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THE WOODLANDS, Texas - In living in this area covering sports for almost twenty years now, I have been treated to the best high school softball in the country. Incidentally, one of the places I've lived is southern California. Yep, the softball is better here. Anyway, the other night I watched Oak Ridge defeat The Woodlands in a tight softball game. While I was mesmerized with the amount of talent that was packed into one softball diamond, I observed this one player that along with her obvious abilities was just as talented a cheerleader. If a teammate got down, it looked like she felt it was her responsibility to pick that player up. The energy level in this athlete would lead you to believe that she'd be a perfect poster child for "5 Hour Energy Weekly".

I just knew she'd be a good read and after an interview, I was convinced you'd be entertained. So, without any further adieu, I give you Oak Ridge high school senior, Veronica Villafranco in this week's Woodlands Online Q&A:

How long have you been playing softball and how did you start playing?
I've been playing softball for nine years now. When I was little I played a little bit of everything, from soccer and basketball to dance and gymnastics. But, then when I was around 6-8 I started playing baseball Tee ball and I fell in love. One day, my mom tried to make me try out for softball, but I didn't want to.. I thought you had to get a pink helmet and I definitely didn't want that! But, I tried out and fell in love with softball! The rest is history, I guess.

What position do you play?
I catch and play third base. My favorite place to be is catching. When you're catching you have to be a leader and make sure everything works out and everyone is positive. Being able to see the whole field really helps and I love being involved in pretty much every play.

What are your college aspirations? Will you be continuing your softball career?
I'm glad to say I'm going to be attending Nicholls State University! When I went on my visits I loved the campus and atmosphere, not to mention that the coaches I'm going to play for are amazing. I can't wait to continue playing softball while also getting a great education as well.

What will be your field of study?
Nursing, I've been interested in science and the medical field since I was little. I want to help others in any way that I can, specifically kids! I plan on specializing in pediatrics.

Your career of choice at the moment?
Working as a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Have you enjoyed being a student athlete at Oak Ridge High School?
Yes! The past four years have been wonderful. I believe that our school has some of the best students around our area by far! We are so supportive of all sports and activities and it's just a great place to be in. Not to mention the teaching staff is incredible. All of the teachers at our school make learning fun. I know that's kind of cliche but very true. They are also some of the most caring and supportive teachers to each and every one of their students. Oak Ridge high school is a great place to be! I wouldn't want to go anywhere else.

Describe the Lady War Eagle softball team?
We like to say that we are one big family at Oak Ridge! Our group is one that has a lot of seniors and that just makes us stronger and more tight knit. We're a very fun loving and talkative group which is what I think B (Coach Amanda Brimberry) would say. Other than being a close group, we are also one that works very hard. We have an extremely tough district that can only make us stronger as we hope to make our playoff run. I love playing for this team because we all care so much and it's awesome to play with a group of girls who all have the same goal....same as our coaches, too. Coach B is one of the most caring, charismatic, and energetic coaches I've ever had. Over the years, she's definitely become someone I admire. Coach Rougeau and Croley are also incredible coaches who truly help when we're out on the field. You can always count on hearing the two of them! Playing softball at Oak Ridge has been amazing. I'm going to miss the atmosphere, coaches and surely my teammates when I leave.

What do you enjoy doing away from school and softball?
Listening to music, pretty much any kind of music really (not rap!). Hanging out with my friends and anything we do together is a fun time. I love watching movies or reading books. Anything except for scary movies though!

Who is your softball role model?
My role model would have to be Lauren Chamberlain (University of Oklahoma standout). She is an incredible softball player and she is someone who works hard and goes 110% all the time. She has so much power as a hitter and is an impactful leader to her team. She plays without fear which is something I try to do every time I step on the field!

Describe how supportive your family is in everything you do in your life.
My family is amazing. Throughout the years I've done a lot. From softball to band to dealing with all of my stress from every day school stuff and tournament ball.. They are so supportive of me. Every time I need them to be there for me, they are! They are my number 1 fans and I have no idea what I would do without them. I think the hardest part about moving away to college will be not having them there to come home to when I need some laughs and love.

Three things that people don't know about you.
1. I used to play French horn in band all through sophomore year in high school! I also really enjoy classical/ movie film scores.
2. I'm a hopeless romantic (laughs). Anything by Nicholas Sparks or similar to that melts my heart!
3. I used to be a ballerina when I was younger (more laughing). It's something most people don't know and I like to keep the pictures of me in a tutu in a secret hiding place!

Oak Ridge softball coach, Amanda Brimberry offered her thoughts on "Ronnie".
"Ronnie has been a big part of all of the success at ORHS softball over the past four years. She is the kind of kid you can rely on when things need to get done. She has been a selfless player over the past two years as I moved her from the position she loves the most (catcher) to third base so that our infield could be more solid. She took on the job without complaint and has been a great leader on the field. Her and the entire senior class will be greatly missed when they graduate."

Over the last couple of years, in watching several Lady War Eagle games some of us adults have Ronnie to thank for reminding us of what is important in the world of sports...and especially the world of youth sports.

When you go to a Lady War Eagle game, watch Ronnie's demeanor whether the team wins or loses. No matter how up she is after a win or down after a loss, she acts exactly the same way. After this particular game, she exhibited class and respect for the Lady Highlanders. That's not just what good leaders do, that's what good people do. How humbling it is for us adults to be reminded of this important fact of life by a high school senior.
Good luck at Nicholls State, Ronnie! Don't forget your tutu.

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