Notre Dame-bound outfielder Christina Willemssen shares her thoughts on playing in the same club org for several years, why working with a good Strength & Conditioning Coach is so key, her team’s Top 20 finish at Alliance Nationals last year and why she’s a fan of the “Luck of the Irish!”
EXTRA ELITE SPOTLIGHT Q&A
Name: Christina Willemssen
Hometown: Fairfax Station, VA
High School: Robinson Secondary School
Club Team (age group): 18u Virginia Glory National Willemssen
Graduation Year: 2023
Sophomore Year: 1st Team-All District, 1st Team All Region, All-Tournament Team, Team MVP
Junior Year: 1st Team-All District, 1st Team All Region, All Tournament Team, Team MVP, Team Captain, All-Met Recognition, Regional Champions, State Tournament participant
Senior Year: Team Captain
Travel Honors – USA 18u National Team Selection, Triple Crown All-Star
Travel Ball Fall Stats: 325 Average for 2022 Season
High School Stats: BA .610, OBP .688, OPS .1778, SLG 1.091, 6 Home Runs, 40 RBIs. — Junior Year
Tell us about your travel team/organization and how you became involved with them? I started with the VA Glory at 7 years old playing with their first 10u Team. What’s really special about my current teammates, many are the same girls I’ve been with for a long time — I’ve been playing with Kaylie Avvisato since 10u, others since 12u and 14u.
Do you have any suggestions for training methods or apps and why? I suggest dedicating time to seeing a Strength & Conditioning Coach. I’m very fortunate to work with one of the best, Annie “Gunshow” Hromada. I’ll work with her at least twice a week, where we not only focus on strength training but also nutrition and the importance of rest. Additionally, within the last year our organization has been involved with S2 Cognition and applying the evaluation results to our training. For instance, our team has specific drills to work on to improve different cognitive skills, which will be individualized for every player. Lastly, I’ve enjoyed learning about Dr. Gallo’s drills that help our team to move and flow as an elite athlete.
Can you tell us about your experience at Alliance Nationals this summer? Last season our team played in the Alliance Nationals tournament and we were excited to compete against many of the nation’s best teams. We had a great run–making it to the Tier 1 Division and finishing 17th overall. We really enjoyed the format that resembled the college softball playoffs, where every game mattered from the beginning. They also had some neat events on opening day. Myself and two other teammates won the 18u High Level Throwing Competition, there was a Home Run Derby with Jocelyn Alo, plus the senior all-star game.
What was your favorite fall tournament/event and why? This fall we competed at a lot of great places, but the one that stands out is playing in O’Fallon, IL. We had an epic game against the Beverly Bandits, with our pitchers throwing a shutout and having my future college coaches watching. Our team’s energy and focus was key to our success and what made the weekend so much fun.
Which player/team was your toughest opponent and why? We competed against a lot of teams loaded with Power 5 Commits. Some of the best included Texas Bombers, who we faced at the Alliance Nationals. They had a combination of elite, shut down pitching and explosive offense. We enjoy playing against the best, as it is a benchmark for where we are at as a team and individuals.
Can you tell us about your decision to commit to Notre Dame? I chose Notre Dame for its incredible combination of big school atmosphere, the softball program’s history, and receiving an outstanding education. The campus is beautiful and the attention to every detail and tradition was apparent. Lastly, the coaching staff made it such an easy decision. It was evident that having a caring culture and environment was extremely important to them, which is something I value.
What areas are you interested in future occupations and why? I’m still not completely certain on what I would want to do in the future, but I’ve always had an interest in sports journalism and sports marketing. I hope to have a career that involves sports.
What’s the best hype song and why? My favorite hype song is Somebody to Love Remix by Justin Bieber. It’s one I’ll always play on the way to games.
What’s your favorite TV show to binge and why? Currently, I’ve been binge-watching The Vampire Diaries and the new season of You. Both shows have an interesting storyline and I feel I could always rewatch them.