January 31, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 24°F


Squad takes it to ‘the extra degree’

“A team above all, above all a team,” is the softball team’s motto this season. Even though it was misprinted on the back of the Bombers’ T-shirts that say “212 degrees” on the front, the concept remains the same.

Freshman Becca Salant fields a ground ball while wearing the 212 degrees shirt during the Bombers’ practice March 24 at Kostrinsky Field. The team wraps up Empire 8 play Saturday at Elmira College. ANDREW BURACZENSKI/THE ITHACAN

When freshman Jamie LeFebvre found out the team was searching for an idea for its annual team T-shirt, she said she immediately thought of “212: The Extra Degree,” a book by Sam Parker that inspired her throughout high school.

“Being a freshman, I wanted to make a spot for myself on the team, so I figured I’d put an idea out there,” she said. “I e-mailed [junior] Allison Greaney, and she’s like, ‘You know, that’s a great idea.’ I sent the video, and she sent a link to the video to everybody else and everyone just seemed to love it.”

Just212.com, the website dedicated to the idea of 212, says: “It’s purpose is to create a level of awareness and accountability that inspires and challenges all of us to try harder, give more and, ultimately, enjoy more.”

“At 212 degrees, water boils, and when you’re at 211 degrees, it’s just hot water,” freshman Molly O’Donnell said. “When you go that one extra step, it makes all the difference.”

Senior Katherine Wilson said every season the team gets T-shirts that the players feel best represents them.

“We all really liked the idea, and that’s our theme this year of how we have so much talent this year, but we know that we have to work hard,” she said. “The 212 is putting that little extra effort, lifting a little more weight, running a little bit farther, a little more cardio, taking that extra rep. It’s kind of that little bit above and beyond that’s going to get us far this year.”

Wilson said most players arrive at Kostrinsky Field an hour before the scheduled practice time just to get those extra reps in.

After the Bombers had a rough finish last season with a loss in the Empire 8 tournament final, senior Alyssa Guzman said the team has used “212 degrees” as inspiration to bounce back.

“Putting in that extra degree or putting in that extra effort, it really stuck with the team well and got us on the right track to come out fires blazing this season and just come out and be like, ‘Ithaca’s not done yet,’” she said. “‘We’re still here. We’re still awesome. We had an off season, but we’re ready to go.’”

The Bombers have clearly applied this going-the-extra-mile mentality as they are currently 22–12 overall and have won 10 of their last 14 games. The Blue and Gold also lead the Empire 8 with an 11–1 record, and they have already clinched a berth in the Empire 8 Championship tournament beginning May 8.

From sprinting up the foul line and giving each other high fives on the way back to the dugout between every inning at games, to cheering for each and every player in the field or up at bat, the Blue and Gold all want everyone to do well, something Guzman said has been missing in the past.

“That motto helped us because it was one of those things where even though I’m competing for a position with this player, at the end of the day, if she gets the position over me, we’re still together as a team, and we’re still fighting for the same thing,” she said. “If someone goes in to hit for me, I’m going to be the first one out of the dugout if she gets a hit.”