Meet the freshmen: Erin Shireman
Nov. 6, 2012
Alex Hubbard, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas — Erin Shireman was the No. 15 overall recruit in the 2012 ESPN High School Softball 100 rankings. The Pearland, Texas, product was also rated the third-best catcher in the country. Shireman was named to the ESPNHS Second Team All-America squad as a catcher. In addition, Shireman earned a place on the 2012 Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) First Team 4A All-State squad and the TAPPS Academic All-State Team as a senor.
As a member of her high school track team, Shireman won the 2011 4A State Championship in pole vault, winning the title with an 11-6 vault, which was the best mark in all of TAPPS.
Shireman spent some time with TexasSports.com this week as she prepares for her first season as a Longhorn.
What brought you to Texas? I am really interested in engineering, and they have an excellent engineering school. Especially in aerospace, which is what I am studying.
[Texas has] an excellent softball program. And when I came on my visit I absolutely fell in love with the school, the campus, the coaches and the team. I just loved everything. It was pretty much a done deal after my visit.
What has been the best part of the preseason? Really getting to know everybody. Everyone on the team is really cool, so we have a lot of fun. Putting on the uniform for the first was pretty awesome, too. That was definitely a dream come true.
What was it like stepping onto Red & Charline McCombs Field for the first time? That was really cool because I have literally worked on it [softball skills] for 12 years or so to finally get to this point. And I know it sounds very cliché, but it was literally like living the dream playing on this field for the first time. [I took] lots of pictures.
What are you looking forward to most once the season starts in the spring? Probably the challenge of it. I [have] never had to play so much softball with all the practicing, and organize it with school as much. But, I really like the whole challenge of it. And actually getting to compete against the teams that I had just watched. Finally getting to be there yourself in those games.
Academic differences between UT and high school? Engineering classes are really hard, but I have grown to really like study hall. You can get a lot done in there.
The classes are really hard, but I spend a lot of time practicing the problems [I’m given]. Most of the classes, it’s a lot of time management with softball, and just getting everything done on time.
I am trying to actually stay ahead, which I have done pretty well with so far.
Favorite place on UT campus? Of course, the softball field is pretty awesome. Off campus, Mount Bonnell is really pretty. You can see the whole city, so it’s kind of nice just to get out of everything and chill for a little bit.
How do you like Austin? It’s actually a lot different for me. Here, we’re close to the city and downtown and everything. Where I grew up [Pearland], it was 30-45 minutes to get to downtown [Houston], so I never went downtown. Here, you can go eat at all the different places on South Congress and everything, which is really cool.
And the people are hilarious. Austin can definitely be weird. But, it’s really neat to meet all the new people who come to school here. And it’s surrounded by the city, so you get that aspect. But you can also drive like 10 minutes and get out into the country.
What has it been like to play for Coach Clark, Coach Hill and Coach McFalls? It’s been really fun. They talk to you very nicely; they don’t talk over you or anything. They really treat you as a student-athlete, and they help you out with the little aspects with your swing or your fielding. They really make it a lot of fun.
What kind of advice have the returning players given you? Time management and practice even if you don’t have scheduled practice. They’ve given lots of little tips and pointers on how to deal with things that come up and how to work through it all. They can show us some drills that the coaches might not have gotten to yet to help us out later on, too.
You did not play softball until your junior year. How did you decide to start playing? In high school, for one year, we didn’t have a team [due to lack of participants]. I did track my freshman and sophomore year. I had always wanted to try pole vaulting, so that gave me a chance to go do that while still playing club softball.
My junior year, they were able to have a team and I thought it would be fun and enjoyable. A lot of my friends were on the team, so I could help them out and have fun with it while still actually doing track, too. I was able to do both that year [junior].
You won state in pole vault as a junior. What was that like? That was really cool. Actually, my pole vaulting coach had three or four state champions that year for pole vault. So that was really cool for all of us because we all practiced together.
I had always just wanted to try it. I never knew that I would be good at it. It was really cool improving on it. I mean, you can temporarily fly and then land on a soft cushion. How cool is that?!
You played track, softball and basketball in high school. Which of those three was your favorite to play? Softball hands down.
Any pregame rituals or superstitions? I always do the same thing when I put on my batting gloves. And I always warm up the same way before I take my first swing. So, I always do the same sort of things, especially with batting.
How did playing for Impact Gold in the summers help you? I played for Impact since my sophomore year. They really did a great job of preparing me. [Nearly] everyone on that team goes to top schools throughout the nation. You’re playing against people who bring you up to a higher level.
Everyone pushes each other the whole time. There’s no drama because everyone wants to be there and improve. It was a lot of fun. You get to make a lot of new friends that you will end playing with or against later on.
How did you decide on aerospace engineering as your major? My dad works at NASA. I grew up with that and I met a ton of astronauts. You know how when you’re growing up in elementary school and people ask “what do you want to be?” I always said an astronaut.
Well, I never grew over that phase. I have always been really intrigued with it. I can look at the stars for hours and not get bored. I really like math and science, so taking those classes is not boring for me. I really like it and it’s enjoyable. I just find space so fascinating; I would love to go up there sometime.