With Big East play underway, softball player Noel Lent is hitting her stride both on the field and off of it.
With a .308 average, 28 RBI, 43 hits, 27 runs, 12 stolen bases and a team-high 11 doubles, Lent’s stats alone demonstrate how the junior is a key cog in the Seton Hall softball machine.
Her contributions go beyond the numbers, though.
Whether it be her hustle on the base paths or her willingness to go the extra mile for her teammates, Lent has cemented herself as a team leader.
“You’ll never see her jogging down to first base when she assumes it’s just a base hit,” head coach Paige Smith said. “She’s al- ways trying to stretch everything into a double.”
The assent to a cornerstone of the lineup and an active leader on the team did not just happen by chance. Rather, it was the result of Lent being carefully cultivated by a past softball leader.
“Whitney Jones honestly has the best work ethic I’ve ever seen in my life,” Lent said, reminiscing about her old SHU teammate. “From there, I’m like ‘I want to be like that; I want to be a leader on this team.’ I want somebody to mimic what I did because I mimicked what she did.”
Jones played during Lent’s first two seasons and was captain during Lent’s sophomore year.
“Even when I was struggling, I knew she was the first person that I can go to and give you a good pep-up,” Lent said.
Lent never took Jones and other great teammate leaders for granted, and instead absorbed their knowledge to build herself into a leader.
“I’m a competition player,” she said. “When I see different people, it drives me. I wanna have them feed off of me.”
Combining her positive attitude and the leadership skills that have trickled down from Jones and past leaders, Lent serves a mentor role to many freshman players, including Ragen Reddick.
“She really helped through a lot of my moments on the field,” Reddick recalled. “She’s really great to talk to.”
Reddick recalled one instance where Lent went above and be- yond to help her keep cool in a game against Creighton.
“She took me in the outfield and just gave me a hug and was like ‘We’re going to get through this game.’”
Her optimistic outlook and sense of when her teammates need her speak volumes about Lent’s ability to lead and recognize the moments she needs to step in.
“We have a walk-on from our ROTC program, and as I was picking up practice I looked out on the field, and she (Lent) was out there helping with, ‘This is why we run this this way,’” Smith said.
“She stays after a lot with people.”
Being a leader is more than just playing well. It requires certain skills unique to players like Jones and Lent.
“They both do what it takes to help the team win,” Smith said. They ensure victory now, and in the future, by passing along the torch of leadership to underclassmen. They prepare the future leaders of the program to nourish the next generation.”
Lent does not take too much credit though, saying her team is filled with those willing to step up and take charge.
“Honestly, from top to bottom, we have all been leaders on this team,” she said.
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.