By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When looking at any sports team there's a clear structure of people all working together to accomplish one goal. Some of those such as coaches and players become the face of the team, while behind them are the backbone of the team--the managers.
Managers spend countless hours compiling paperwork, charting team statistics, gathering equipment and any other tasks needed completed.
"Our student managers are a huge part of this team and family," said head coach Amanda Lehotak. "It's amazing how much they do for us and how helpful it is having them."
The Penn State softball team has four current student managers, Jon Herzing, Nathan Sterner, Alex Comonitski, and Jordan Caffrey.
These four dedicate their free time to help the coaching staff and make sure the team is always game ready.
"You'd be amazed with everything those kids do, although they aren't officially on the roster they're a huge part of the team," said coach Lehotak.
Currently a sophomore, Alex is one of the main student managers for the team and has been for roughly two years now.
Starting her first semester she was in contact with the softball coaching staff and quickly became a part of the team shortly afterwards.
Although Alex does a wide range of task to help out the team, her specific job is working with a program called "Right View Pro."
During every game Alex sits with the computer, recording every pitch, at-bat and defensive play. That's because after the game she combines all the data and with help of the software, creates various report-cards and stat sheets which show the team's performance during each game.
This program is especially helpful for the coaches and players to see how their performance is against various hitters or pitchers so they can continue to get better as the season progresses.
"Deciding to become a manager was the best decision I have made while being a student at Penn State," said Alex Comonitski.
"Going to the field everyday and having the feeling like I am a part of something important is the most rewarding part of the job," she added.
Growing up playing competitive softball, Alex feels grateful she's still able to play an important role.
"I have always loved the idea of a team and being one big "family." Its rewarding knowing that I found my place on this campus and the work that I am doing is a contribution to the success of the team. I'm also grateful for the things I have learned," Comonitski explained.
Alongside Alex is sophomore Jordan who also the most senior member of the student managers.
Jordan is originally from Effort, Pennsylvania near the Poconos and is a biology major with dreams of becoming a physician's assistant or coach in the future.
Similar to Alex, Jordan started his manager duties during freshman year. Growing up Jordan played sports and watched his own dad coach, so naturally managing a varsity sport interested him as soon as he stepped foot on campus.
"One of the best parts of being a manger is the amount of people I've met and things I'm able to do with the team, said Caffrey. "It's an amazing experience."
Being a biology major and involved in other activities on campus, Jordan always makes sure to mange his time properly, so he can travel with the team and be available every game and practice.
"Although it can be time demanding, I enjoy every minute of the job," said Caffrey
The softball team is a perfect example of just how much student managers can help a team, both on the field and off. They become not only important assets to the coaching staff, but they're an essential part of the team's overall blue print toward success.
"Our managers do so much, There's not a day that goes by without realizing how lucky we are to have them," Lehotak said.