Interview of Shayna Glass: Her Journey to Becoming a NCAA Division 1 Softball Player
Good afternoon, Shayna.
It is an absolute pleasure to interview you. First and foremost, congratulations on your commitment and signing with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Head Coach Frank Reed has to be ecstatic to have you on his team. The Mocs are getting an elite nationally ranked player by numerous rankings organization and one that brings that SoCal gritty softball tenacity to Tennessee. We are very happy for you on this amazing accomplishment. Less than 1 percent of all softball players go on to play Division 1. Amazing!
Can you please describe how it all started for you? How old were you when you started playing softball/baseball?
Shayna: I started playing when I was 8 years old. Since I was little my dad and grandpa always had baseball games on TV and we would play with a rolled up sock and paper towel roll bat in the living room. One day my dad and I were driving past our local softball fields and I saw a girl playing catch with her dad and I asked my dad if we could do that too, the rest is history.
What made you stay playing through all these years?
Shayna: I genuinely have fun when I put on my cleats and I am on the field. I am surrounded by my best friends, we crack jokes and mess with each other but we are still all very competitive athletes that play fast and smart so it makes it really fun to be in an environment like that. If I am having a bad day, taking some reps on the tee or taking some fly balls helps snap me out of it. Being on the field is my happy place.
What positions do you play for both high school and travel ball?
Shayna: I am an outfielder. I love the outfield. I primarily play center field, for both high school and travel ball. I am part of the Firecrackers Brashear Organization and feel fortunate to be coached by Coach Sean Brashear and Coach Mike Smith and up to four different coaches at any given time … It is awesome to learn and be coached by the best of the best. They hold us accountable and to higher expectations, making me a better player. It is for this reason and many others that we are a nationally ranked team and program. All of the girls on the team are from all different locations and we only see each other once a week so when we do get together it is a lot of fun. As far as my high school team goes, we are a very young team. This will be my fourth and last year playing varsity, so it is fun to be a mentor and captain to the younger girls so they can keep the seniors’ legacy going for as long as they are there.
What awards and accolades have you achieved?
Shayna: Over my 4 years of high school I have received recognition on and off the field. I received the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award (HOBY), Beautiful Beasts of Softball - MVP Award, Principal's Honor Roll , Scholar Athlete Award, Spirit of the Diablo Award (Freshman Volleyball, Varsity Softball), Team Captain (Frosh/Soph Volleyball, Varsity Softball), Orange County Register's Weekly Hits Leader, FloSoftballs Texas Bombers Showcase Player to Watch, Weekly MaxPreps Player of the Game, South Coast League Champions (MVHS)
What is your favorite softball memory?
Shayna: My favorite softball memory was winning the South Coast League Championship last year with my high school team. After a 10 year championship streak, ending in 2017, Mission Viejo had not gotten close to winning the league. Last year with all of my best friends we were able to capitalize on our talent and hard work and win the league after 4 years. It felt really good to win a banner and be proud to put it up by our field, going down in school history with so many great players before me.
If you could spend a day with any softball player, who would it be and why?
Shayna: That is an easy one for me … University of Oregon Alumni and outfielder, Haley Cruse. I look up to her not only as a player but as a person as well. She is talented, driven, and seems to be a people person so it would be easy to talk to her. I feel like we have a lot in common and do the same type of things. We both have a creative side, we are outgoing and like to make people laugh and smile. I don’t think it would be hard to make conversation with her and we would really enjoy each others company.
Can you please discuss your recruiting process/journey?
Shayna: My recruiting process was a whirlwind of emotions. Like so many of us in the class of 2021 and 2022, the most crucial part of my recruiting process was interfered with because of COVID-19. The pandemic forced me to get creative and take it one step at the time because there wasn't much I could do. I had to control what I could control and keep positive thoughts. Certain points got very hard and were very frustrating but I persevered with the help of my parents and recruiting scout, Kim Rucker. With all of their help and guidance, I focused on the social media aspect of my recruiting and got good at making and editing highlight and skills videos from my phone. I listened to what college coaches were saying online and telling my travel ball coaches and it became very useful because I could not get in front of the coaches. This helped me because it drew good attention to my twitter account and helped a lot of coaches see different aspects of me that they normally would see in person at camps and other things like my personality that they wouldn’t see usually. I feel that I was able to turn an unfortunate situation into something productive under the circumstances.
Once again, congrats on being a NCAA Division 1 athlete. How did you know that the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was the right place?
Shayna: Thank you! I am so excited to be going to Chattanooga and become a Moc. I first got a taste of Tennessee when I did a camp in Knoxville. It was such a great experience and I knew that I would fit right into Tennessee. I knew I wanted to get out of California, go to a place with four seasons and that had history and a sense of school pride. Once I got to Chattanooga, I knew I was in the right place. During my visit I fell in love with the town and the coaching staff. Everyone was super nice and welcoming. It felt like home and they made me feel like family. I love the vibe in Chattanooga and I was impressed with the softball and academic facilities, and am excited to begin my studies in Communications and Broadcasting Journalism to prepare me for my future. Being part of the University of Tennessee network there are so many possible opportunities.
Are there any words of wisdom you’d like to share with others who are going through the process and meeting challenges?
Shayna: I would tell them to trust the process and stay calm. Everything happens for a reason. One thing that I learned was that it's okay to feel mad, sad, and pissed off during the process, especially when there are things out of your control. These are all natural feelings. The thing that matters the most is how you respond. Just like in a game when things don’t go your way, how are you going to respond? The process can be so frustrating but as long as you put in the work, the work will reward you.
Who is your role model and why?
Shayna: My role model is Haley Cruse because she is so real. I want to play like her and have the mentality she has when she plays. I look up to her and strive to mimic everything she does and use it when I play. It is kind of like a Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan thing. She has shared her story on social media that really hit home with me and it has inspired me over the years. Her story is basically about how she has struggled at times like all of us but she didn’t give up on her dreams and worked harder and eventually became one of the best players in the game and has had the success she has because she had to work for it.
Is there anyone you would like to recognize or thank for helping you grab your dreams and goals?
Shayna: My family is my biggest support system. They have had my back when I wanted to give up and were by my side when I was the happiest version of myself. I could not be the person or be where I am if it weren't for them. I owe them so much for all of the time and sacrifices they have given up for me. I am so blessed to have them as my right hand people. There are so many coaches along the way that have helped me in different ways that it would be hard to mention them all without possibly leaving someone out, but they know who they are. I want to give a special thanks to Coach Rick Cowan of Beautiful Beasts of Sport for recognizing something in me early on and giving me a platform to be myself and help others. He has been a huge support system for me throughout the last couple of years and I am very grateful. I also want to thank Coach Sean Brashear and his organization for holding me to a higher standard and for putting me in a position to succeed on and off the field and to be the best version of myself.
That concludes our interview with stud outfielder and contact hitter Shayna Glass. Thank you, Shayna for your time and for sharing your experiences about your journey. Furthermore, the information you shared with others going through the process is valuable and appreciated.
We at Legacy & Legends Softball wish you the best of luck in your student-athlete endeavors and we look forward to watching you on television and reading the news articles! Go Mocs!