By Kayla Curry
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Mikey Kenney’s journey as a top-ranked softball player took her from the mountains of Colorado to the plains of West Texas. And it was in Lubbock where she finished her athletic career as one of the very best to ever take the field for the Texas Tech softball program.
Kenney’s love for athletics started early and was supported by a family full of athletes.
“My family is all pretty athletic,” Kenney said. “My mom played softball and volleyball. So they are very in to sports, and they were always very supportive of me.”
Kenney’s mom inspired her to set her sights on playing collegiate softball, and it was also her mom who taught her the dedication needed to reach that goal.
“My mom has been a big part in making sure I stay on top of things,” Kenney said. “She always wanted me to do my best.”
Kenney was a very successful high school athlete. She excelled at softball and basketball, and won the Colorado state high jump championship in track and field. Kenney ended her high school career being named outstanding senior athlete, and she maintained that same level of excellence in the classroom by graduating in the top 10 percent of her class.
Kenney chose Lubbock as her home far away from home after visiting the campus while she was in high school.
Once Kenney arrived in Lubbock, she lived up to the hype of her successful high school athletic career and stayed consistent throughout her freshman season. She hit .312 that year with a team-high 15 home runs – missing only one game during the season.
From that point on, Kenney continued to be a force in the Red Raider lineup and continued to improve as she eventually snapped the Tech career records for runs scored, home runs and RBI. She also broke numerous single-season records as well.
Kenney believes she was able to improve during her college playing days by focusing on the small details.
“I got better by working in the off-season,” Kenney said, “and working on the little details here and there. Also, working with the girls on the team to make each other better and listening to advice from coaches.”
Kenney’s coach, Shanon Hays, said Kenney’s offensive strength came from her commitment to hard work and dedication to the team.
“Mikey sees the ball so well and can drive it to all parts of the park,” said Hays, who arrived at Tech prior to Kenney’s freshman 2010 season. “She has been a fixture at the top of our lineup each of the past four years and she’s been an important factor in our success. We’ll definitely miss her presence in our lineup next year because she can do so many things offensively.”
Kenney was named to the All-Big 12 second team following the 2013 season, marking her third career selection to the conference postseason teams. She is one of just five Red Raiders all-time to be recognized by the conference coaches three times in a career.
Even though Kenney is moving on from playing softball, she still looks back and gives future players advice to enjoy each day because the journey goes by so quickly.
“Just keep working hard,” Kenney advised future athletes. “It will be worth it in the end. You’ll look back and wish you could go back just for another day or another year. Make yourself better and do everything you can because it will go by fast.”