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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
No. 13 A&M upsets No. 5 Virginia in dominant fashion, 4-1
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Lasting legacy

 
 

Jenna Stark transferred into the Texas A&M softball program with high hopes of contributing early and often. More than a season later, the junior has reached her goal, transforming from a bench player to second baseman and one of the teams most vocal leaders.
Head softball coach Jo Evans said Stark provides A&M with an invaluable service, allowing for increased success on the field.
Shes the critical piece for us in this puzzle, Evans said. Shes the most impactful player in the infield relative to leadership and being vocal.
Loud, energetic and positive are just a few of the adjectives that describe Stark.
But if it wasnt for a lengthy journey with stops that included Huntington Beach, Calif., and Washington D.C. en route to Aggieland, A&M softball may have been a lot less entertaining without its most vocal leader.
Growing up in Huntington Beach, Calif., Starks softball career took off during high school, gaining her attention from collegiate softball programs from around the nation. Rather than attend a traditional power such as UCLA or California, Stark desired to explore the country, finally settling on Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
I got about as far away as I could and about as different as you can get from Huntington Beach, Stark said. It was definitely a good experience.
She led the Georgetown Hoyas her freshman season with a .310 batting average along with the most hits, runs and second-highest slugging percentage.
But Stark wasnt happy with the cold weather or the Georgetowns minimal focus on softball. Looking to transfer once again, Stark redirected to the school that originally grabbed her attention.
A&M had been my original choice out of high school, Stark said. It was always my dream to go here so as soon as I knew I wanted to transfer I figured I would shoot for the stars and go for my dream again.
Former A&M All-American second baseman and Olympian Julie Smith coached Stark in California. Talk of the 12th Man eventually drew her back to Aggieland despite Evans disliking to the idea of Stark transferring into the program.
When Stark was interested in transferring to A&M, coach Evans first said no.
I didnt want to be in a position where we have this really great kid who loves the game and is the best player at Georgetown only to come here and sit the bench, Evans said. What does that do to her psyche? I couldnt guarantee her she was going to be a starter on our team.
Evans eventually accepted Stark as a transfer, but as a sophomore in 2012 Stark started only 20 games, down from her 51 at Georgetown the year prior. After only a season at A&M, she knew her role as an Aggie was going to be different.
I didnt come in thinking I was going to be the star like I was at Georgetown, Stark said. I accepted that pretty quickly because I knew I was getting to be a part of something bigger than myself. Thats something I didnt really have at Georgetown.
Around that time, Starks personality started to shine through to her A&M coaches and teammates. The energy extended from her position on the bench onto the field, encouraging her teammates each step of the season.
Once a first baseman at A&M, Stark worked on her range and mobility over the summer, trying to evolve into a second baseman instead. After a summer of lifting weights, running and CrossFit, Stark finally cracked the A&M starting lineup.
I think she brought a perspective that she wasnt going to take any of this for granted, Evans said. She recognizes a tremendous opportunity and she did everything she could to take advantage of it. Shes worked really hard to get in the lineup.
Stark has started all 38 games this season for the Aggies and is batting .286 in one of college softballs deepest lineups. Stark excels on the field, though, where glove and bat arent as important.
She brings a heck of a lot to this team for being one person, said junior right fielder Cassie Tysarczyk. She brings this energy and you can feel it. I know people in the stands can feel it too. Most people probably dont know all that she brings to our team because they only see whats on the field.
Stark will be the first to say that the long distance shes traveled to become an Aggie has helped her gain perspective.
From the bench in the dugout to her spot at second base, Stark looks to be one of the most important players for the No. 10 Aggies in their pursuit of a national title.
Thats the intangible thing that she brings to our team and does better than anybody who Ive ever coached, Evans said. She brings out the best in everybody including herself. Theyve seen her play that role. Theres no one on this team that wouldnt say that they are a huge fan of Jenna Stark.

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