Josie VanBaest: student-athlete and so much more

Josie VanBaest: student-athlete and so much more

By: Hailey Fernelius

Josie VanBaest is a student at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon. She is someone who likes to stay busy by being involved in her school. She plays on the women’s softball team, is one of the lead singers in the school’s choir and is an active member in the school’s drama club.

VanBaest decided she wanted to start playing softball when she was in elementary school. “Both of my parents played when they were young,” said VanBaest.

“If I could pick what position I played, I would be on first base,” said VanBaest. She is often pitching or is placed in the outfield, but she thinks her skills are better served on first base.

“I’m pretty good at keeping my eye on the ball and reacting quickly once the ball connects with the bat,” said VanBaest.

She likes the sport because she gets to meet new people and she has a fun way to exercise without feeling like she is exercising.

“It’s not all fun and games,” she said, “It’s a lot of work.” VanBaest explains that with all of her practices, games and performances she falls behind on her sleep. “She has to stay up later on days when she has games to get her homework done, because there is no time before,” said VanBaest’s step-mother, Stacey.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average teenager needs between eight and ten hours of sleep a night. But, they also reported that only 15% of students surveyed said that they actually only get about eight-and-a-half hours of sleep on school nights.

“Athletics for youth in this day and age require a lot of time and effort. To be great, you must put in a lot of time,” says Josie’s coach and father, Michael. This time has to come from somewhere and Michael VanBaest acknowledges that it will either come from sleep or studying.

He also explains that he does everything he can to motivate his players to stay focused in school. “If you don’t achieve above passable grades, you don’t play,” Michael VanBaest said.

He is also focused on creating a stronger team. “The longer they play together, the more they learn to listen to each other on the field.”

When it gets broken down, she spends a lot of her time with these girls. Stacey VanBaest explains that each practice is about two hours long and they have it twice a week, each game is about two hours long and they have those twice a week, and then they are expected to improve their hitting and pitching outside of practice as well.

“It’s fun to go to the batting cages and help each other improve on our swing,” said Josie VanBaest.

“It’s really great to see Josie excelling at so many things in her high school career,” said Stacey VanBaest. She and Michael VanBaest never miss any of Josie’s games or performances.