Four years ago, senior softball pitcher Kelsey Nordstrom came to Colgate as a highly touted recruit from Salina South High School in Kansas. She had compiled a 44-4 record, 440 strikeouts, and a 0.41 ERA in four years there. With all these exploits under her belt, it should come as no surprise that she became one of the Patriot League’s best pitchers during her time at Colgate.
Drawing Nordstrom to Colgate over other institutions was its consistent ranking in the Top-20 of Princeton Review’s Most Beautiful Campus List.
“From the first moment I set foot on campus during my recruiting visit, I fell in love with the campus,” she articulated. “I heard nothing but good things about the campus, and it seemed like the right fit.”
Colgate is certainly lucky Nordstrom felt like she fit in. In her first year, she established herself as a premier pitcher by going 7-3. She also threw 79 strikeouts, which broke the first-year record. One game that year was especially memorable for Nordstrom.
“One of my favorite memories from playing softball came in my first year,” Nordstrom said. “It was a game in Florida against Cornell. Not only was it one of the best games I have ever pitched, but more importantly my family was there to see it.”
In her sophomore year, Nordstrom posted an impressive 2.72 earned run average. Her 108 strikeouts on the year made her only the second Raider in history to top 100 strikeouts. Unfortunately for Nordstrom, her junior year was curtailed by a shoulder injury, which limited her to just 12 starts. However, her earned run average improved for the third straight year to 2.61.
Her senior year has been her best statistically. With a 10-6 record, Nordstrom has reached double-digit wins for the first time in her career. Her earned run average, which is 1.56 so far, is currently a career-best. She recently recorded her 115th strikeout of the year with eight Patriot League regular season games left to play, which is already the third-highest single season total in Colgate history. Nordstrom has appeared in 20 continued from page A-6have been complete games. She has also thrown four shutouts Kelsey is very proud of her individual accomplishments, but also knows that team accomplishments are the ultimate measure of success.
“I’m very proud of breaking the first-year strikeout record and being the second person to have over 100 strikeouts,” Nordstrom said. “More importantly, we’ve made the Patriot League Tournament all three years I’ve been here, and we hope to make it a fourth time this year. The individual accomplishments have been great, but they’rnot as important as what we accomplish as a team.”
Nordstrom’s exploits extend beyond the diamond as well. Nordstrom is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which helped create the Raider mascot and helped to spawn the Raider Nation T-shirts. Nordstrom has also been a volunteer around the Hamilton community and in the local schools. As a Sociology major, one of her favorite experiences at Colgate was her study abroad semester in Australia during the fall of her junior year.
“It was an enlightening experience and a great opportunity to learn about a new culture,” Kelsey said.
In her free time, Kelsey enjoys shopping, going to the movies, basketball, volleyball, and basically any other sport. Off the field, she has also formed a special bond with those she battles with on game day.
“One of the best things about my time here has been the team bonding on and off the field,” Nordstrom said. “The softball girls are just like sisters. What makes us such a great team is our team chemistry. The fact that I’ve formed lasting friendships is absolutely great.”
Kelsey has learned much here at Colgate, but the most important lesson she has learned is not about how to better pitch a softball or approaches to Sociology.
“I’ve learned that’s it is important to go outside of your comfort zone,” Nordstrom said. “I’ve also learned that if I put pressure on myself in school or in my personal life, that I can succeed.”
Nordstrom will be playing softball this summer professionally in Europe. After that, her plans are uncertain, but she does want to move to the Boston area.
As she departs into the “real world,” Nordstrom has some advice for underclassmen and incoming Colgate students.
“Keep an open mind when you come here,” Nordstrom said. “This place could be very different from where you come from. Be prepared to find out things about yourself that you never knew. Everyone here wants you to succeed: coaches, professors, and friends. If you put forth the effort, you’ll be successful here and in life.”
Hopefully, Kelsey will be successful in whatever she decides to pursue. If her softball career is any indication, she will be a force to be reckoned with. But here at Colgate, the hard throwing pitcher form Kansas will be profoundly missed.