Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Colleges

USF softball's Stephanie Medina pushes through pain

TAMPA — They are the turbines through which power is generated, the purveyors of torque, the fulcrum upon which a stance segues into a swing. In a hitter's universe, hips are oxygen.

"Oh, gosh, that's your swing," longtime Chamberlain High softball coach Bob Diez said.

And senior Stephanie Medina's hips have been throbbing from the moment she put on a USF uniform.

Mind over matter? The 22-year-old epitome of that creed plays first base for the Bulls. Despite a ravaged right hip that needed surgery for a labral tear in June, Medina never missed a game in her first three college seasons.

Currently she has a labral tear in her left hip that ultimately will require surgery. Yet she has played in 37 of 40 contests this year and likely will be a lineup fixture in this weekend's home series against UCF (1 and 3:15 p.m. today, 1 p.m. Sunday, USF Softball Stadium).

"It's just one of those things where I know that I only have a certain amount of months left and then after that I'm never going to play softball again," said Medina, second on the team in hits (34) and RBIs (22), and tied for fourth in average (.333).

"So it's one of those things where I just kind of have to push through it and hope for the best."

Ignoring pain has grown as routine for Medina as lacing up a pair of cleats, and cleats are a part of how the hip maladies began.

Medina tried the metal variety once as a junior at Chamberlain and felt a tweak while trying to forehand a ground ball. Assistant Tim Mouse told her to remove them.

She didn't wear them again until arriving at USF. At her first Bulls practice, Medina's foot got stuck in the clay, pulling her hamstring and eliciting another hip tweak. She hasn't worn metal cleats again, but the damage was done.

"I don't know whether or not the cleats had anything to do with them being torn or if at that time it just happened," Medina said. "But from all the stretching I've done at first base, I'm sure it gradually kind of just (tore)."

Even so, Medina, whose older sister JoJo also played first base for the Bulls from 2007-10, started all 53 games as a freshman. Subsisting on resolve and pain-killing shots, she led the team in six offensive categories, including home runs (eight) and RBIs (50).

By her sophomore season, when the Bulls earned the program's first Women's College World Series berth, Medina had evolved into a third-team all-Big East selection. The ensuing fall, she tore her left labrum while sliding in an exhibition game against Santa Fe College.

The next spring, she hit .281 with seven homers and a career-best 50 hits.

"I don't know if I could do what she's done, especially with the injuries that she's had and the surgeries and the rehab and all that kind of stuff," Bulls coach Ken Eriksen said. "They say women give birth for a reason. I don't want to have to experience that ever."

These days, Medina's discomfort can range from mild to miserable, depending on the degree of exertion. Treatments after a game or practice can be as simple as an ice pack or as extensive as 30 to 45 minutes of ice, stretching and stimulation treatments.

"(The hips) have been messed up for so long that it's a good feeling to know that (the right) one feels so much stronger than it used to," said Medina, working toward her master's degree in criminology. "It's nice to just only have to worry about my left and not both."

The real grimacing is done when Eriksen has insisted on sitting her, which he did twice during a pair of early season tournaments when USF played up to six games in a weekend. Certain weekday practices also are decreed as offdays.

Soon, the offdays will arrive in bulk. Only six weeks or so remain in Medina's softball life, and she's bent on maximizing every moment. Anything less? That would be a pain too great to bear.

"Yes, it hurts, and I know it hurts, but if I show pain, then my teammates see that, and I don't want anybody to feel bad for me in the middle of a game," she said. "I'm here, I'm going to play all seven innings, all eight innings, however many we have to play.''

 
Comments
Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville must vacate its 2013 men’s basketball title following an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold sanctions against the men’s program in the sex scandal case. The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the c...
Published: 02/20/18
Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

TAMPA — Coaches often point to "intangibles" — the subtle positive qualities that usually don’t show up in the boxscore — when praising their key players.But University of Tampa women’s basketball coach Tom Jessee has a different definition when desc...
Published: 02/13/18
FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Terance Mann couldn’t mope over two missed free throws that could have sealed Florida State’s victory. There was still work to do on the other end to make sure Louisville didn’t take advantage. The junior guard quickly redeemed hims...
Updated one month ago
No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

GAINESVILLE — Mike White hung his head.Florida’s coach scuffed his shoes against the hardwood, screamed into his hands and watched as his team let Saturday’s game slip away.With Alabama on a seven-point run 11 minutes into the second half, the Gators...
Updated one month ago

USF Bulls fall to Memphis

TAMPA — From its two-point home loss against UCF to its victory at Tulane, USF recently had provided its fan base encouragement in spurts. Similarly, its interior defense against Memphis on Wednesday night also came and went.With 6-foot-3 Tigers guar...
Updated one month ago
Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — The repeated misses were bad for No. 23 Florida. The failure to rebound them made the offensive struggles even more painful. Yante Maten scored 20 and Georgia recovered after blowing a halftime lead to beat the Gators 72-60 on Tuesday n...
Updated one month ago

Florida State beats Miami in OT despite 17 Hurricanes 3-pointers

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton and Miami’s Jim Larranaga both have at least 33 years of college basketball coaching experience under their belts.Both might have experienced a first during their matchup Saturday.FSU and Miami needed a ...
Updated one month ago
Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

GAINESVILLE — Florida point guard Chris Chiozza was feeling it, so he went with the flow.A pass-first point guard by nature, Chiozza decided to stay aggressive as a scorer and see what happened.The Gators were glad he did.Chiozza finished the 20th-ra...
Updated one month ago
Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

ORLANDO — The NFL plans to recognize UCF’s 13-0 season during today’s Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.Players have been invited to walk out on the field for a celebration after the first quarter."When we thought about UCF and the amazing season the...
Updated one month ago
Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement Friday, the day an explosive ESPN story detailing a number of allegations of sexual assault and violent attacks on women occurred with Spartan athletes.Hollis...
Updated one month ago