Softball Factory alum Ana Gold is quick to credit softball as something that has shaped her into the person she is today. Having recently committed to Duke University, she is elated to know she will be able to continue to play the sport she adores so much at the next level upon her 2021 Ballston Spa High School graduation.
“Committing to Duke truly was a dream come true,” the Malta, NY native gushes. “From incredible academics, athletics, people, coaches and staff, Duke really does have it all. I could not picture myself attending and playing softball at any other university.”
In the same way that Gold cannot picture herself playing softball for anyone but Duke, it could also be said she cannot picture her life without the sport of softball in general.
“I love everything about softball,” the shortstop says. “Of course, I love hitting and fielding, but softball is so much more than that. It takes more than just talent to be successful in this sport. To be successful you need to be mentally tough, competitive and confident. You need to be willing to learn from mistakes and be okay with failure. You need to love the grind and put the work in when no one is watching. These are things that set softball apart from other sports, which is why I love it so much.”
Gold attributes Softball Factory as a key contributor in her journey to becoming a Blue Devil.
“I learned many valuable things during my time with Softball Factory, not only about softball but about life,” Gold, who has participated in five Softball Factory events, reveals. “One of my biggest takeaways from the coaches is that if you have a desire to be successful you always have to put in 100% effort mentally, physically and emotionally, especially when no one is watching.”
“Softball Factory definitely helped me with my recruiting process,” she continues. “Living in the Northeast, there aren’t any big tournaments and my travel teams aren’t able to qualify for them. Therefore, it was hard for me to get exposure in front of college coaches because most of them were out recruiting at the bigger tournaments. However, playing with Softball Factory allowed me to play in one of the bigger tournaments: the Atlanta Legacy Showcase. I emailed some colleges my schedule and several came and watched me during this tournament, one of them was Duke. I am incredibly thankful for Softball Factory and the opportunities they provided me.”
“My favorite event with softball Factory was the Atlanta Legacy Tournament,” the high school junior recalls. “I became very close with some of the girls on the team and I am still in contact with some of them. One night we did a scavenger hunt in The Battery, and that has to be one of my favorite memories.”
Meeting like-minded athletes and coaches in the softball community is something the student athlete enjoys.
“Softball Factory allowed me to play with talented girls from around the country in high level tournaments,” she explains. “I was able to create new relationships with teammates and coaches and was surrounded by people who have similar goals as me.”
Having goals is something Gold finds to be important and currently has her sights set on accomplishing her dream of ending her high school softball career on the ultimate high note.
“My biggest goal for my last two high school seasons is to win the state championship,” she answers when asked what she hopes to achieve in her last couple of seasons at the high school level. “We have lost in the NY State final game the last two years, but I believe this is our year.”
While the future Blue Devil is focused on finishing her high school softball career strong – and admits she will miss playing with her teammates and friends – she truly is excited to take her talents to Duke when the time does come.
“I am looking forward to play at the next level because I will be surrounded by some of the most talented players and knowledgeable coaches who are going to push me to be the best softball player and person I can be,” she says. “Being in a competitive environment really excites me and I look forward to that. But I am most excited for our team to be able to compete in the NCAA tournament.”
Gold is not the only one who is excited for her future with Duke University.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Ana since she started working with us when she was in the eighth grade,” Softball Factory executive player development coordinator Adam Darvick says. “Not only did she display incredible work ethic and abilities on the field, but she also excelled in the classroom. Now Coach Young and Duke University will get to experience her drive and talent as she begins her collegiate career in the fall of 2021. I’m ecstatic for her and can’t wait to see the future holds!”