Olivia Pichardo, a student at Brown University, has achieved a personal milestone and made history as the first female athlete in NCAA Division I history to be named to a varsity baseball squad. Pichardo’s tenacious drive made this possible.
The 18-year-old Queens, New York, the first-year student has committed her time and energy to baseball since she was five years old. Despite being a girl athlete in a male-dominated sport in middle school, she had dreams of continuing to play in college.
She so took part in baseball walk-on tryouts before the commencement of her first semester at Brown in September, which was followed by a lengthy evaluation process that included demanding practice and workouts with current players.
When the team officially revealed its roster for the 2023 season, which starts in February, she was thrilled, though still in astonishment, to learn that she had landed a berth.
Because it’s something Pichardo has desired since eighth grade, the experience was undoubtedly surreal for her. She stated “I’m having the ideal college experience I’ve always wanted, so that’s really nice, but it’s sort of odd to know.”
At least eight women are expected to suit up for the 2023 season, according to Baseball for All, a nonprofit organization that works to improve gender equity in baseball and give girls across the nation opportunities to play, coach, and lead within the sport. However, none of these players are at the NCAA Division I level.
Pichardo claims that she is grateful to people who have motivated her along the way and that she feels modest about that distinction.
No matter the category, Pichardo said, “I’m just extremely thrilled that we’re having more and more female baseball players at the collegiate level.”
“It’s really setting the way for young females in the following generation to have these goals they want to attain and dream big and know that they can do it,” she said.
Grant Achilles, the head coach of the baseball team at Brown University, said he was immediately struck by Pichardo’s athleticism, adaptability, and strength during her exceptional tryout and following practices, where she demonstrated her abilities as a middle infielder, outfielder, and pitcher.
According to Achilles, who has been the manager of Brown’s baseball team since 2014 after holding former coaching positions at Georgetown, Wake Forest, and Western Carolina, “every fall, we have tryouts for students interested in joining our squad.”
We may assess athleticism, arm strength, and both offensive and defensive skills using this routine, which is popular in baseball. Since I started as a head coach, Olivia’s walk-on tryout was the most thorough I have ever seen.
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