2017 UAA Softball Position Player of the Year and Washington University graduate Hannah Mehrle has continued to be a part of UAA softball excellence while attending law school at Case Western Reserve University. She served as a volunteer assistant coach this past season for the Spartan program that reached the NCAA Division III Softball Championship finals in Oklahoma City for the first time.
She was the first, but not the last, Mehrle to choose to be a student-athlete at a UAA institution. Her brother Noah was a starting outfielder as a sophomore this past year for the CWRU baseball team and sister Sarah will be attending NYU in the fall and planning to play softball for the Violets.
Hannah Mehrle with her brother Noah and sister Sarah
There was no guarantee that Hannah would be a college athlete. “From the time I began playing softball and even up to deciding to go to WashU, I was not really sure I wanted to play in college,” she recollected. “I was afraid I would not be able to have a good college experience if all I was doing was playing softball, but the thought of not playing softball was too upsetting for me so I ultimately decided to play at WashU. It was one of the best choices I ever made.”
The decision to attend Washington University was not a difficult one for Mehrle. “I knew I wanted to go to a good school and get a good education,” she remarked. “WashU was the only school I talked to about playing softball and being an engineer. It helped that the campus was so pretty, the dorms were nice, and the food was good!”
Merhle chose WashU to compete at a high-level academic institution
Freshman year was a tough adjustment for her. “Second semester of my freshman year, I was taking a lot of hard computer science classes while playing in my first collegiate season,” she recalled. “There were times I would run from class to practice, then grab dinner to go, and rush back to the computer lab until three or four in the morning. After my first year, I realized labs and the season did not mix so well. After that, I tried to take lab-based classes in the fall, which made the balance between academics and athletics a lot easier. I realized that majoring in computer science at a school like WashU is doable as long as you managed your time well.”
Mehrle had the opportunity to play in the UAA Softball Championship in Florida her first three years and participate in the Association’s first round robin schedule in her senior season. “There are pros and cons of both ways of playing UAA’s and I am really glad I got to experience both of them.”
Mehrle enjoyed the UAA Softball Championship and UAA round robin play
“Sophomore year, we drove from St. Louis to Florida and on the way there, our bus lost a tire and we were stranded in the middle of nowhere, Georgia,” she laughed. “The team bonded so much and we still joke about that in our group chat.”
“In round robin play, it was nice to have time to make adjustments to the other team’s pitchers over the four games, but mostly it was great to explore the other cities we went to,” she said. “We went shopping in Atlanta, got deep dish pizza in Chicago, and went to the top of One World Trade Center in New York City. It was also a lot of fun to win the only outright UAA title we won during my time at WashU.”
Merhle batted .411 with 17 doubles and 43 runs batted in during her senior season
In addition to playing two different formats in UAA play, Mehrle also played for two coaches, Leticia Pineda-Boutté and Michelle Venturella. “For three years, I got used to Coach Let’s style and rules, and I didn’t know anything else. Then my senior year, Coach V came in with her own coaching style and rules,” she commented. “At first, we seniors really wanted to keep things the way they had been, but we eventually adjusted and ended up having a great season. They are both great coaches. I enjoyed playing for, and learning from, both of them.”
Mehrle hit .414 with 18 runs batted in over a 16-game UAA schedule in 2017
"I have fond memories of Hannah! When I think of an individual with exceptional talent, she undeniably comes to mind," Pineda-Boutté recalled. "She had the rare speed, agility, and determination of athletes that tend to dominate in their sport. Hannah achieved great success as a collegiate athlete and I envision her enjoying as much success in her professional career as well. She has a burning desire to be the best, and the determination and fortitude not to let any obstacles or challenges stand in her way."
This past year, Mehrle’s first in law school at CWRU, she was able to take what she learned from her coaches to guide her in helping Spartan head coach Josie Henry and the rest of her staff. “I loved coaching ad being able to see the players, especially the freshmen, grow so much. I was genuinely excited for everyone whenever they made a good play and it was a lot of fun to see them make it all the way to Oklahoma City,” she remarked. “I was so proud to be part of a coaching staff and although I wasn’t able to make it to all of the practices or games, I like to think I helped a little. I loved coaching this year because the women and other coaches were so much fun, and all genuinely enjoyed what they were doing, making it a nice way for me to take a break from law school.” She is already looking forward to coaching again next season.
Mehrle knows what it takes to combine athletic and academic excellence at a top university
"Hannah has been such a positive addition to our program this year. She is very personable and truthful when providing feedback to the team which we very much appreciate," Henry remarked. "She has an excellent understanding of what it takes to be a champion in the UAA and tons of experience at the NCAA tournament, but even more importantly she knows the academic demands of students at UAA institutions and she continues to thrive as a member of the CWRU School of Law. She is extremely competitive and we love what she brings to our program. We look forward to having her return with our program again next year."
Mehrle knew after her junior year of college that she wanted to go to law school, though it was always an option she considered, particularly since her father is a patent attorney. “It wasn’t until I had an internship at a big company that I realized coding all day, every day, as a software engineer was not something I wanted to do,” she stated. “Law school is a little more competitive than I anticipated, but I just took my competitive energy from softball and exerted that into law school. I have particularly liked learning how to think like a lawyer.”
Mehrle with her parents at WashU's "Senior Day"
She seeks to work in intellectual property law as a patent prosecutor and is spending this summer working at an intellectual property firm in Portland, Oregon that does a lot of work with big technology companies. “I love being on the cutting edge of technology, and helping these companies and inventors get patents issued, all while learning new things every day.”
As far as her siblings following in her footsteps by competing at UAA schools, she finds it quite ironic. “When I was a senior in high school, they both thought it was so weird that I was going to a smaller school to play softball,” she quipped. “They saw how much I loved softball and WashU, and how focused all the UAA schools are on academics, which would allow them to pursue their goals.” Noah wants to be an accountant/Certified Public Accountant, while Sarah wants to be a nurse. “All three of us realized that the UAA is a great conference to play baseball/softball competitively while getting a great degree as well. I like to think I am part of the reason they are playing where they are,” she concluded.
Hannah Mehrle in earlier times with her siblings Noah and Sarah