While their reunion with the Kishwaukee College softball program has been brief, former Rochelle Township High School players Emilee Dueringer and Faith Roush are looking ahead and preparing for what lies next in their respective academics and athletics.
With a limited roster, the sophomore Roush had been primed to take on a significant role for the Lady Kougars, and the freshman Dueringer was aiming to step up as a first-year collegiate player. Their season was unable to take off, however, after a shortage of players forced the team to cancel all of its nonconference games and the continuing coronavirus pandemic required the NJCAA to cancel all spring athletics across the country.
“It was a tremendous letdown,” Dueringer said. “My first year with the program has been a roller-coaster ride. We struggled to keep our numbers up, even during the fall, and there were moments where I wasn’t sure if we would have a team. But overall, we grew closer as a team and we formed a much stronger connection with each other on and off the field. The thing I have enjoyed most is the bond our team has. Everything has felt right.”
“When I heard that our season was canceled, it was pretty disappointing because it’s tough not being able to do one of the things I love most,” Roush added. “My second year with the team was pretty good. My teammates have all been great and we are a really close group so we always had a good time, even when we were conditioning at 6 a.m.”
The Lady Hub graduates will now take steps apart, as Roush will transfer to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas to continue her education and Dueringer will remain at Kishwaukee College for her academics and athletics. Roush plans to study wildlife, sustainability and ecosystem sciences at her new school, but before she takes off, she’ll be working her second season as a coach with the Kishwaukee Valley Storm softball program this summer.
“I’m going to miss my teammates and being at practice every day,” Roush said. “I thought I improved quite a bit this year. My pitching was really getting there and I was really excited for that. My hitting was also back to where I wanted it to be, and I hit the ball fairly consistently during the fall. I felt my fielding improved a lot as well since I was practicing at multiple spots.”
Dueringer will look to become a leader for the Kishwaukee College team as a sophomore next season. The former RTHS first baseman will be reuniting with two former teammates as well, as current RTHS seniors Abby and Ally Reish expected to join the team in the fall.
“I definitely improved over the time we had together this year,” Dueringer said. “During the fall, I saw different pitchers with faster speeds and a range of pitches which helped me adjust. I’m looking forward to next season not only because of the number of recruits, but because of the comeback that Kishwaukee softball is going to make… With the extra downtime, I have an opportunity to do some extra hitting, tee work and fielding drills.”