By Makenzie Heddens
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
As the only senior for the Iowa State softball team, pitcher Rachel Zabriskie shoulders a large load.
"She contributes just about everything," assistant coach Gary Hines said. "For four years she has been a steady influence and the one everybody leans on."
Zabriskie came to Iowa State from Austin, Texas, where she attended McNeil High School and received first-team All-District and MVP honors all four years. She was also a four-time academic All-District honoree.
Now, Zabriskie is 10th all-time in the Big 12 with 799 strikeouts and tied for eighth all-time in the Big 12 with 165 appearances. She also holds Iowa State career records with 860.1 innings pitched, 85 complete games and 66 wins. In 2009 and 2010 she was named First-Team Academic All-Big 12.
"She has great leadership, she's a great student and she does everything right both on and off the field," head coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. "The big thing is that Rachel is extremely competitive and works hard. No matter what's going on she is going to fight to win."
Zabriskie is not the kind to give up. After her sophomore year she had stress fractures in her leg and hip that required surgery. She also had shoulder surgery last summer but spent all last fall in rehab to get back to in-season shape.
What sets her apart from other players in the Big 12?
"Resilience," Zabriskie said.
On the field Zabriskie is calm and collected. At times, she'll sing a song in her head to stay relaxed.
"I like to have a consistent warm-up," Zabriskie said.
"She appears to be in control," Gameinhardt-Cesler said. "She thinks about her other teammates and what they're thinking."
Freshman pitcher, Breeanna Holliday, has used Zabriskie's experience to adjust to Division I softball.
"Rachel is our only senior now so she's definitely a good role model," Holliday said. "Rachel is definitely a very good pitcher and I really look up to her. She has taught me a lot about the mental aspects of the game. She's mentally tough and works really hard all the time. She gets the job done."
Zabriskie is the leader of the team and has proven herself over the course of her college career.
"She wanted to pitch, she learned to pitch and has become a tremendous pitcher," Hines said.