Mattoon softball star excels at University of Southern Indiana
Former Mattoon softball standout Shelby Tate is truly making the most of her experience at the University of Southern Indiana (USI), both as a softball player and student.
Optimistic and outgoing, the junior outfielder combines athleticism and intellect as she continues through her college career. She attributes her positive attitude and her array of organizational skills as the keys to her success in dealing with the everyday challenges she and her teammates face as student athletes.
“Oh, I love it -- it’s a great school,” she recently told East Central Reporter. “The teachers work with you, they work with your schedule and help you as an athlete. Sometimes it’s tough organizing everything, but as long you have great skills, you’ll make it through.”
Tate particularly enjoys USI's high professor-to-student ratio.
“Everyone loves to work together, and it makes things a lot easier to work through,” she said.
As a four-year honor roll student at Mattoon, Tate led by example. She earned All-Big 12 Conference honors for three years, was first-team in her junior and senior seasons, and was honorable mention All-Conference as a sophomore. During her high school career, Mattoon won three sectional titles and finished fourth in the 2012 IHSA Class 3A State Tournament.
After graduation, Tate spent semesters at Lake Rend College in Mattoon and at Kaskaskia College in Centralia before deciding to enroll at USI.
“I definitely loved getting out of my town because I like to travel and see new things,” she said. “I like to venture out. I liked getting out of Mattoon and coming to Evansville because it’s actually a really big town, and I’m used to small towns that don’t have a lot in them, so it’s been a great experience so far.”
Known as “Shoob” to her teammates and friends, Tate has already made strides as a member of the Screaming Eagles. She earned Academic All-Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) honors in her first season with the team while hitting .287 and scoring 22 runs in 45 starts. Tate's batting average with runners in scoring position was a stellar .389 -- she even got two hits in USI's NCAA II Midwest Region Tournament win over Wayne State.
For Tate, the biggest challenge of being a student athlete is balancing her time between a rigorous academic schedule and her commitment to the softball team.
“Probably, it's making sure that I have all my assignments done and getting them in on or before the due date,” she said. “Sometimes we have to leave early, so sometimes I have an earlier due date. Our coaches really help us out with making sure that we have all our assignments in because we have study table hours and academic meetings that we attend with our coaches. They make sure that we are doing great in our classes.”
When she is not studying or playing softball, Tate loves to get outdoors. She particularly enjoys walking and biking around the many trails on and around the USI campus. She also likes to spend time on area lakes for activities such as boating, tubing and kneeboarding.
“Some other days, I just want to relax in my apartment and watch movies or play board games,” Tate said.
A self-described tomboy, she likes to dress in a relaxed, casual style -- usually blue jeans with a nice shirt.
Tate is pursuing a degree in radiologic imaging sciences.
“After graduation, I’d like to have a job in the Evansville area, or go down south and work somewhere,” she said. “Then, after working two years in the clinical radiology area, I would like to go back to Ohio State and get my master’s degree and then become a radiologist’s assistant.”
Tate has made the dean’s list in each of her semesters at USI.