May 5, 2001
Complete Transcript From FSU's Senior Day Ceremony
Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to home plate as we take a few moments to honor our seniors at this, the final home game of the 2001 regular season. These six women have achieved an unprecedented level of success on the field and in the classroom during their time at Florida State and are true student athletes in every sense of the phrase. Five of these Seminole seniors have made at least one appearance on the ACC academic honor roll and one of our seniors has even been a member of the dean's list. As successful as they have been in the classroom, these players have been even more successful on the field of play. Last season, this group was a vital part of a team that won more NCAA tournament games than any other Seminole squad since 1993. They have already clinched their second consecutive berth in the NCAA's and have won an amazing 109 games in just two seasons. They have set a standard of excellence that every other program strives to achieve. Please join us in thanking them individually for all of the hard work they put in everyday to make their friends, family and university proud.
The heart and soul of the Seminoles, that is probably the most accurate way to describe Natalie Bennett. The Belleville, IL native has started 136 straight games at shortstop for fsu since transferring from drake and she is the only member of the 2001 senior class that has started every game over the last two seasons. She is as reliable off the field as she is on it and is the epitome of a senior leader. Natalie's departure will leave a hole in the middle of the Seminole's infield but an even bigger hole in her teammates lives.
Although Staci Brandon has been at fsu for just two seasons, her impact on this team's success is undeniable. Her offensive numbers over the past two years are second to none and her willingness to play through injuries is a testament to how much this team means to her. Staci has found a way to balance school and the constant demands of division I athletics as she pursues her nursing degree. She always finds a way to keep her teammates relaxed and it's hard to imagine anyone who will be missed more on those long bus trips through Georgia and Alabama.
Serita brooks is one of the most exciting athletes to ever step foot on the field of play for a Seminole softball team. She is a leader who lets her actions speak louder than her words and it is impossible to know how many records would have fallen if she had spent all four seasons at fsu. Her legacy at Florida State will forever be cemented when she was named the program's 18th All-American. Few have ever patrolled center field like Serita and it will be hard to look at that chunk of turf in the Seminole outfield with out thinking of Rita.
A team is more than just nine players and a successful team is a collaborative effort that requires many people to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the group. Stephanie Blowsy is someone every Seminole player is proud to call teammate and her contribution over the past two seasons cannot be fully understood unless you are at practice everyday to witness her work ethic and the numerous hours she has spent on this field. Her teammates know what Stephanie means to them and if you have ever spent any time with Steph you know what she meant to this program.
As fsu entered the 2001 season, Robyn Gauger was listed as at almost every position except for first base. How things have changed. Robyn has been one of the season's most pleasant surprises and her persistence and hard work has paid off. Robyn seized an opportunity to not only become a starter but to become one of the team's statistical leaders. Despite the fact that she leads the Seminoles in chances, she has the teams best fielding percentage. She is a role model for anyone who gets an opportunity and is determined enough to seize the moment and never let it go.
The only four-year Seminole in this group of seniors, Jen White-Stokes has overcome so much adversity and she has now appeared in more games than any pitcher in the illustrious history of Florida state softball. Jen is in the midst of one of the most successful seasons ever for an fsu pitcher and in the month of April alone, she has won eight conference and national honors. She has spent most of the 2001 season amongst the nation's top 10 pitchers in era and her leadership comes from the relaxed but focused way she approaches every game. Everyone involved with Seminole softball couldn't imagine any senior who deserves her success as much as Jen White-Stokes.
Please stand up and help us honor this group of seniors that has won three consecutive ACC titles, made three trips to the NCAA tournament and most importantly made this university proud. We can never thank them enough for all of their sacrifices and endless hours of hard work.