Q&A with Jenny Jansen

Former Warrenton standout ends stellar college career at Southern Illinois University


Former Warrenton standout softball player Jenny Jansen recently concluded her five-year softball career at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She hit .376 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs in her final campaign for the Salukis. She wrapped up her college career by setting school records in both career runs driven in  and total hits.

Jansen’s effort led her to be named to the National Faspitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Mideast Region second team for the first time in her career. She also earned spots on the Missouri Valley Conference first team and MVC Scholar-Athlete first team.

Prior to attending SIU, Jansen played on the Warrenton softball team. She was part of two state championship teams her junior and senior years. Jansen’s future plans include teaching fifth grade in Quincy, Ill., and coaching softball at Quincy Notre Dame.

What is your softball background and how did you get started into the sport?

I started playing tee-ball at six. And I actually quit tee-ball. I didn’t like it. And then my mom put me back in it at like eight maybe. And I just played coach pitch in Warrenton and me and my good friend Kaylee Anderson, who also played college at SEMO, we ended up going to play competitive ball at nine or 10 and we kind of just never stopped after that.

Is that when you started taking softball more seriously?

We went and played on a team out of the O’Fallon area and then after that we just kind of moved on to a team from St. Louis. And then she and I went on two different teams and went our own ways in the travel aspect of it, but about nine or 10 is probably about when we started getting pretty competitive.

When did you know you wanted to play softball at the collegiate level?

I think my freshman year of high school I got my first letter from a college just saying that they were interested, and from then on out, I was like ‘I guess I am probably good enough to go on and play in college so I should probably take this pretty seriously.’

What was the recruiting process like and did it span multiple years?

Back then, the recruiting rules were a little different so now they can only talk to you your junior year of high school. But back then, they could talk to you as early as they wanted to. So I started getting letters my freshman year. My sophomore year I went on visits. I probably visited six or seven schools and had interest from some other ones that I just didn’t go to. And then I committed between my sophomore and junior year to SIU.

Where do you think you grew the most as a player at Warrenton and what are you most proud of from your time as a Warrior?

Once I committed to play in college, I think it all just got more fun because it was really stressful for a while trying to figure out where I was going to go. So I think once I started just having fun with it and not worrying about where I was going to end up is where I turned the corner, and I think my junior year I had a really good year. We won state that year, and senior year we did as well. So I think when I was just able to play and not worry about where I was going to play in college, that’s when I started playing better honestly.

Was there a big adjustment going from high school to college?

My summer team was really competitive actually so I felt like it wasn’t terribly hard to switch over. But I do remember my first eight at-bats at college I got out and I was like, ‘there’s no way I’m going to be able to play here.’ And then my first hit in college was a home run and from then on out I was like, ‘I can do this.’ But it definitely was just scary because all the girls were like a lot older and a lot bigger when you’re a freshman in college. But I feel like I adjusted pretty quick and it wasn’t anything that was too terribly hard to switch over to.

Was there a certain point in college when the game slowed down?

My freshman year was a really hard year. I struggled at the beginning and then kind of got on a roll towards the end. And then my sophomore year I had the best year hitting-wise that I had through all the five years I was there. And then, I don’t know, I kind of felt like after that they were all the same. My senior year was pretty hard because I had to move to shortstop when I had been playing other positions the whole time because of an injury. And so I think I was more focused on my defense than my hitting and I kind of saw that drop off a little bit. But other than that, I think this past year, my fifth year, I had the most fun because I knew it was my last year and I just kind of went out there and played and I ended up having a really good year.

Are you happy with your decision to attend SIU?

Yeah I am really glad I went there. I got everything I wanted to and more. I ended up getting two degrees. I played in every game. I just wanted to go somewhere where I could leave an impact and I feel like I did that and more. And I hope that going into the future, we created a good culture there and this team continues to stay successful.

 Do you have any post-college career plans?

I’m actually going to be teaching fifth grade next year up in Quincy, Ill.. My family is from there. We moved right after I graduated high school. So I’ve been here the last five years so that’s where I would come home to for the summers. But I got a job at Quincy Public Schools and I’m teaching this fall.

Do you have any plans to stay involved with softball?

I actually just give private hitting lessons whenever I have time. I work during the summer too. I just try to fit it into my schedule. Next year, I’m planning on coaching at Quincy Notre Dame and then also coaching their junior high basketball team.