Kara Dornbos is entering her final season in the circle after an outstanding season last year where she put her name in the record books.
The right-handed pitcher finished with a team-best 2.03 ERA and set the single-season appearance record of 36 games. She also broke into the top-10 in school history for innings pitched (452) and career appearances (90).
Dornbos is hot on the trail of a collection of even more accolades. This season, she is closing in on the top-10 mark in career wins (38), complete games (48), shutouts (15) and strikeouts (276), none of which are hindering her focus.
“I honestly didn’t even know (about the records),” Dornbos said. “I don’t really focus on records a lot. I just want to come out every game and do my best.”
In the offseason, Dornbos has been oriented toward elevating her play, to get even better.
She said looking back at secondary achievements takes a back seat to working hard for her team. Her goals don’t include breaking any records or building up her stats.
“My goals for this season are just working hard everyday, coming to practice and giving it my all,” Dornbos said. “I’ve been working with the catchers to work on my weaknesses, and I’m just trying to get mentally prepared and ready to come out at the beginning of the season.”
Dornbos joins three other returning pitchers and the starting catcher from last season to make up a strong force in the circle.
Together, they had an ERA of 2.03 and 194 strikeouts. As the lone senior in the CMU battery, Dornbos is a leader but emphasizes the group effort needed to be effective.
“I’m just really excited because we’ve been saying this our entire year, we have a ‘pitching staff,’” Dornbos said. “It’s not just one person; you need everyone to contribute, and we’re all so different and we have different qualities that make us great. Putting us together, I feel like we’re going to be unstoppable.”
Off the field, Dornbos has been doing exceptionally well in the classroom. The health fitness major has a 3.98 GPA, making her one of seven Chippewas to earn above a 3.9. CMU has the highest GPA in program history this season.
Because there are some fresh faces and young athletes on the roster, the experience of the upper classmen is a valued resource. Dornbos is one of four returning seniors who will help the underclassmen learn how Chippewas softball is played.
“I think we have a great senior class,” Dornbos said. “We have four seniors right now, and I think we’re great leaders. That’s our goal, to be great leaders on the team, keep the team focused and push the team to be the best this season.”