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NICOLE TOWNER TALKS SUCCESSFUL TRINITY SOFTBALL CAREER, GROWTH, AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

Hartford, Conn. - Trinity College senior Nicole Towner (Erie, Colo.) recently concluded her career on the softball diamond after a successful four years. The tri-captain catcher became the program's all-time leader in runners caught stealing this spring and leaves the team among the all-time leaders in multiple statistical categories. More impressive than her on the field accolades, Towner is a double major in environmental science and biology while being involved in numerous off the field efforts around campus. Towner sat down to talk about her career and her experience at Trinity.

Going back to before college, describe the college search process and what made you land on Trinity? How did you hear about Trinity while being from Colorado? When I was looking for colleges, I knew what I wanted. At the time I knew I wanted to do a pre-veterinary track and I didn't want my athletics to get in the way of that. I wanted to be able to balance academics and athletics. I was very clear with everyone who helped me with my college selection process that I did not want to give up any academics for athletics. Luckily, I had an amazing college counselor who worked hard and had sent some kids to NESCAC schools before. She introduced me to the conference and from there, I began to look at the schools in the conference. After looking at all the schools, I knew Trinity was the best fit for me.

Were you a catcher coming in to Trinity as well? Yes. I have been a catcher for many years. I was converted from being a corner infielder during middle school. Trinity was where I fully committed to being a catcher and I left the infield behind.

You've been a starter all four years. What was it like making the jump to the collegiate level and how did you adapt so well? It was difficult but, luckily, I had a great group of upperclassmen to help me through it. My three seniors at the time really pushed me to make the adjustments I needed and to be the best I could be. I also had an amazing coaching staff and strength and conditioning coaches to help me though the transition.

How have your issues with vision/epilepsy impacted your softball career? What ways did you overcome these challenges? Vision impacted my softball career because it was constantly changing. I was actually put in glasses for the first time at three years old and my vision changed consistently every six months for the next 16 years. Overall, it left me self-conscious, but it forced me to work with what I had. I had to learn to work on the fly and adjust when things were slightly off. It really taught me about adjustment.

Epilepsy was something I am still learning how to deal with. A lot of my current adjustments is learning my body's limits and educating myself. But in the end, I just had to not be afraid of myself and my new diagnosis because I knew I was well protected by my coaches and the training staff.

Did these challenges arise in college or have you dealt with them throughout? My vision challenges have been a part of my life since I was three years old. I was placed in glasses at three years old, my first contacts at 11 years old, and I was placed in "hard" plastic contacts at 18 years old. I was actually diagnosed with epilepsy in February of this year after I had a Grand Mal Seizure on campus on January 22nd.

What is your favorite sports memory at Trinity? There are two memories that really stick out to me. The first was my sophomore year when we swept Tufts at home. That series we handed them their first division loss since 2011 and also became the first team in league history to sweep the Jumbos. It was a complete team effort and it was even better that it was Senior Day that weekend, so we were able to celebrate our seniors in such an amazing way. The second happened this past weekend when we beat Hamilton in the first round of NESCACs. I have been to NESCACs every year that I have played but never won a game. Beating Hamilton this year was an amazing experience and the grit that the team showed was unmatched.

Looking back on this season, what is one word that comes to mind when describing this team? Resilient. This team faced a lot of trials throughout the year. We were a younger team than we were expected to be and we lost a lot of great seniors from the previous year. Through all of that, the team never gave up and never lost the fight that we had. I am extremely proud of this team, they were amazing to work with and be teammates with. They became my family, maybe drove me a little crazy at times, but in the end I wouldn't trade them in for the world.

Has your four years on softball changed you or brought growth in any ways? Four years of softball has allowed be to become a leader, deal with adversity and trust/believe in my team. I've luckily had a lot of people around me who supported me and allowed me to grow and change.

Your player profile mentions A LOT of community service (Therapeutic Riding Center, flood relief, parks and recreation projects, etc.) What's your favorite part in lending a helping hand like that? I have always believed in helping my community. I grew up in a very active community and I always want to make sure I give to the communities that have help me on my journey. My favorite thing about serving my community is making that connection to the one person that my assistance is making all the difference for. While I do usually work with large groups, I love finding the one person who really appreciates the work. I've had it be a kid with disabilities who takes to me through-out his horseback riding lesson, or a homeowner whose house was devastated by a 1,000-year flood. No experience is the same but every experience is just as meaningful to me and to them.

Double majoring in environmental science and biology, do you hope to use both in your career path? I do. I want to become a practicing veterinarian so that is where most of the biology side comes in. Having an environmental science background allows me to look at problems with a larger lens. Being able to look at diseases or other animal problems from a wide lens gives me a different perspective and even an environmental perspective.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation I am going to attend Colorado State to pursue a doctorate in veterinary medicine. I have always loved working with animals, and I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was very young. I am excited to finally make my dreams become a reality.

What will you miss most about Trinity? I will miss all of the people I have met. I am moving far away from most of the people that I have met at Trinity so not being around them will be difficult for me. While I am excited to see where this next phase of my life goes, I am thankful for the opportunities that Trinity has given me and all the people that have helped me along the way.

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