TAMPA – Morgan Gross is embracing her reduced role with the University of South Florida Bulls after being a leader and go-to player with her high school team, the Wooster Colts.
Gross, a freshman catcher, was a four-year varsity player at the Reno, Nevada school, where she earned a number of awards while also being named co-MVP her junior scholastic year.
After choosing USF for academics, she made the NCAA team as a ‘walk-on’ player, but has yet to crack the starting roster, having appeared in limited action early in the Bulls’ season.
“Not playing is hard, but I get to catch bullpen a lot and I love interacting with the pitchers and doing my job, and my job is to warm up the pitchers,” Gross said, prior to practice at the USF campus. “Whatever I do at the time, that’s my role and I do it 100 per cent until something else happens.”
That kind of positive attitude from the multiple award winner is not surprising to her high school coach, Dave Hendrix.
“One of the biggest things that I always remember about Morgan is that she was always willing to accept players around her regardless of their race, their beliefs, their style of play, their attitudes,” Hendrix, over the phone last Friday. “I mean, she was everybody’s best friend on the team, she was definitely a leader out there, a real coach’s player.”
While Gross has already accomplished a lot in her short softball career, she is always striving for more and continues to set goals, both in athletics, and academics where she is majoring in Mass Communications, aspiring to work in sports media and broadcast.
“My goals are to improve and be a more consistent hitter and have more quality at-bats. I would like to work my way into a more starting role position,” said Gross of her goals, also speaking of her academic goals, “I always strive to get the best grades I can get, especially in my major classes, I want to have A’s in every major class that I have.
“My major is Mass Communications, I’m interested in sports broadcasting, journalism, marketing, and stuff like that.”
She credits her grandfather, Don Hedrick, who played golf at Wake Forest University, for her positive attitude and work ethic.
“My grandfather always said to make sure you go to a place that will put your education first,” Gross said. “My favourite quote from him, he always told me, ‘I think I can, I think I can,’ and to always believe in yourself.”