March 6, 2013
By Ryan Syrkus
Just a few years ago, softball head coach Lonni Alameda made a promise to Courtney Senas. While being recruited, Senas was told that Florida State would return to Hawaii as a team and play in front of a crowd supporting Senas for her homecoming. That promised was fulfilled last year as FSU traveled to Honolulu for the Hawaii Classic.
For the junior outfielder, it was more than just a string of games against tough competition. It was also a chance to show off her talents in front of her family and friends.
“It felt good because my whole life, my whole family was there,” said Senas. “They finally got the opportunity to watch me play again. It just brings back memories. It makes me feel better about myself that if I do good or bad at the end that they’re there for me. I get a better feeling when they’re around. No matter how I do in a game, I’m always going to be happy that they’re there watching me.”
Still, it wasn’t just her family she was performing for; it was the entire state of Hawaii, especially her home town of Wahiawa.
“I feel like since it’s such a small island everybody knows everybody and somehow you’re related to everybody,” Senas continued. “Since high school, a lot of our games were on TV. It helped me and all of the island girls and island athletes to actually get known. That’s how you get a lot of fans because they watch you play on TV in Hawaii and they like how you play. I think a lot of people like [to] follow a lot of Hawaiians no matter where they are and no matter what college. We just want our people to do well out of the islands and make a name for ourselves. I’m not just here for my family. I’m also here to represent Hawaii.”
Senas did not disappoint in her first game during her return, hitting 3-for-3 with an RBI and scoring a run. The Seminoles would go onto win the opening game against UC Santa Barbara 5-1.
Even though her performance spoke for itself, the words Senas told her teammates about Hawaii never full sank in until they got off the plane.
“Finally, for once the people on my team can understand a little bit of who I am and what goes on in my life,” Senas said. “I was more excited for my team because I talk about my family so much. It was finally happening that people from here were meeting people from Hawaii.”
Senas was proud to talk about the people she grew up around and made it clearer as to why she wanted her teammates to meet them.
“Over there, there’s no shame,” said Senas. “You respect everybody. Everybody is more giving and more open. They just got your back no matter what. They’re supportive, they really care.”
The distance between Florida and Hawaii hasn’t hampered Senas or what she does on the field. Senas was named the ACC Player of the Week after her performance during the Unconquered Invitational.
“I feel like I’m real lucky,” Senas concluded. “I’m blessed. You have to be lucky and blessed at the same time to get [those honors]. I’m just real happy that I got it. It kind of helped me. It was kind of like a confidence boost.”