DIII Week: CC Transfer, Andrea Smith, Relishes DIII Experience

Apr 5, 2016

Senior outfielder Andrea Smith has enjoyed her Division III experience from the get-go, especially after hitting her first-ever career home run, a grand slam, last season.

*This is one of a handful of stories on UD student-athletes and their experiences at the Division III level in honor of Division III week (April 4-10). 

Part I: Track's Blaze Murfin
Complete 2016 Stats
DUBUQUE, Iowa – A former two-year NJCAA community college softball transfer, senior Andrea Smith, has been successful at the Division III level and thrives on the all-around experience.

A former two-time Academic All-Conference selection and All-Conference outfielder at Southeastern Community College, Smith excelled in her first year at the Division III level after being named First Team All-Iowa Conference last season.

Division III wasn’t even a blip on her radar coming out of high school, but the experience has opened her eyes in all aspects.

“Playing here at a Division III level I’m definitely getting the whole college experience compared to at a community college where playing sports is pretty much like a job,” said Smith. “You didn’t have near as much free time because the entire school year was your season.”

“Coming here I have a lot more time to have the college experience, especially for academics which is important to me.”

Only the seventh, First Team All-Conference selection in school history who finished 2015 with a .280 batting average and tied for the team-lead with eight doubles, Smith found what she was looking for at the University of Dubuque.

“My initial offer was from Southeastern Community College in my hometown of Burlington, so I decided to go with it and then see what happens after two years,” said Smith. “I almost didn’t plan on playing softball coming out of junior college, but I found UD and saw it had my major (Sport Marketing & Management) and offered a unique experience.”

Despite playing without a scholarship for the first time, her other opportunities have more than made up for it and even surprised her.

“Now that I’m here, money almost doesn’t matter thanks to the experiences and education that I’m getting,” said Smith. “You see these girls play for the love of the game and they are playing just as hard as girls that that have an athletic scholarship in a very competitive Division III, especially the Iowa Conference.”

“I’ve been able to build a lot of valuable 1-on-1 relationships and help others through team events like the Park Clean-a-Thon and Strikeout Cancer game with Loras,” said Smith. “We had a great turn out and even some fun against our rivals with family, friends, and cancer survivors in attendance. Great to raise that much money for a pair of small schools.”

Smith certainly left her mark after launching her first-ever collegiate home run, a grand slam, in the Strikeout Cancer game last year and finished with two in 2015.

“After seeing what UD was about, I decided playing softball, hitting some dingers, and getting my education in my last two years wasn’t a bad idea,” said a smiling/shrugging Smith.

Come May, it’s mission accomplished.