Centre-fielder AnaMarie Bruni writes her goals in a notebook each season, which may be a novel by the end of her senior year.
With last season being cancelled due to the pandemic, the Pennsylvania native is back in Tampa for her fifth season at the D1 school, and has used this opportunity to keep growing on and off the field.
The personal notebook idea is one she put into action embarking on her junior year, after on-field performances dipped in her sophomore campaign.
“I just write it down, get it off my head, close my book, and don’t think of it the rest of the season,” Bruni said, speaking about her mindset. “And then I open it up at the end of the season and check off the boxes. It kind of gets it off my mind, because I do get a little crazy if I put so many things in my head.
“I just like to play with a clear mind. That’s kind of what helps me to set my goals for the season.”
The Bulls’ leadoff hitter has bounced back beautifully since, etching her name in the record books in various categories for the program’s storied 37-year history.
With over 200 games played and 500 at-bats as of 11 games into her final season, Bruni sits 10th all-time in USF history in batting average at .339, and jumped from eighth to sixth in stolen bases after sweeping New Mexico State in a doubleheader on March 10.
While these achievements and accolades are nice, Bruni’s real impact can be felt off the field with the work she has done in the community with organizations such as Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay, as well as bonds she’s built with teammates and coaches at USF.
“The main goal is to leave with a family no matter what the scores are, or if we win or lose,” Bruni said, citing relationships she’s built with fellow seniors such as Kelsey Lay and Brooke Hartman, USF alumni like Mia Fung and Lindsey Devitt, and recently departed assistant coach Jessica Moore.
“I want to leave with people that I’m going to have relationships with for the rest of my life, and that’s something that softball has given me. And that, I’m so thankful for.”
Despite accomplishing so much already, the season is still young and the Bulls will be relying heavily on Bruni’s talent and experience heading into a marquee three game series against the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“Where she was her freshman year to where she is now, it’s a pretty incredible thing,” assistant coach Tommy Santiago said, referencing the growth Bruni has shown under head coach Ken Eriksen and assistant coach Moore.
“Any time you can have another coach on the field it helps us and gives us a chance to win.”