Athlete of the Year: Shelby Romine

Lauren Boone and Doug Hendry, Managing Editor and Assistant Sports Editor

Not many basketball players can lead their team to its best Patriot League record since 2007. But Shelby Romine ’14 isn’t just any basketball player. A three-year co-captain, her leadership on the women’s basketball team has helped the ladies reclaim a tenacity that the team hasn’t seen in nearly a decade. In the process, she has engraved her name in the Women’s Basketball record books on many occasions. Her 15.1 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, and 4.3 assists per game in 30 total games this season have helped her earn a spot on the All-Patriot League First Team. In addition to her on-court success, she was also selected to the Academic All-Patriot League team, earning a spot on the Dean’s List six total times thus far. For her effort on and off the court, Shelby has been voted as our Bison Athlete of the Year, and we were able to talk to her to discover her thoughts regarding the past four years as a member of the women’s basketball team.

LB, DH: What has been the best moment for you this past season and your entire career?

SR: This past season, my favorite moment was Senior Night. Although we lost, it was really incredible to see how much support [I have], not just from my family but also my teammates. [They] made this book for me–my teammates and coaches–and it was the most meaningful gift I’ve ever gotten. They [each] wrote a handwritten letter just talking about my influence off the basketball court. I think that’s what you remember more. You can look back on the records and the stats, but my friendships with these girls are, I think, what I will remember forever.

LB, DH: What was it like working with your teammates on and off the court, some of whom you’ve known for the past three years?

SR: It was great. I was lucky because we all are friends outside of the court, and that’s just really rare that the people you spend so much time with on the court are the people you want to hang out with on the weekends too. I think that contributed to a lot of our success as well. Some of the people that I’ve been playing with forever, it was great to see those people develop, but it’s also nice to see these new freshmen come in. You get a chance to make an influence on them too because you are older. They look up to you, and you can especially have an impact on them. I ended up falling in love with that aspect of basketball, and that’s kind of why I want to coach now.

LB, DH: What did you think about the team’s ability to come back from behind in so many games throughout the year?

SR: I think that we worked so hard in the preseason and in the summer that it gave us the confidence so that when we were down we weren’t going to roll over. I think that comes with anything. If you practice it and you work hard, you don’t lose your self-esteem or your confidence when things aren’t going well. We just kept a level head. I was really proud of [the younger girls]. For them not to lose composure … that’s not usually common in freshmen.

LB, DH: What was it like being the only senior on the team?

SR: At first, if I’m being completely honest, I was so nervous about it this summer. I’m kind of quiet, so I didn’t know if I could lead them or I had no idea what to expect because I’ve always been the younger one with girls to look up to, not necessarily people looking up to me. But they made it easy for me. They were so receptive, worked extremely hard, [and were very] talented. I would love to take all the credit and call myself an awesome leader, but they really did make it easy for me.

LB, DH: What are your plans for after graduation?

SR: I’m in search of a graduate assistant position, which would allow me to get my master’s and help with the women’s basketball team for a program. I’ve applied to places and waiting to hear back; so nothing is set in stone yet, but this year kind of showed me that there were better parts to the game or more important parts than just ‘Oh, I had a good game’ or ‘We won.’ It’s like I could actually impact someone’s life from this.

LB, DH: What inspired you to pursue coaching basketball after graduation?

SR: I hadn’t really considered coaching until this year, and I think a lot of it has to do with the younger girls. Seeing them look up to me was a really, really cool feeling … I try to be there for [the younger girls] because I had upperclassmen that were there for me. Especially since freshman year can be hard adjusting, not only to college which is hard enough in itself, but adjusting to being a student-athlete, which is tough.

LB, DH: What was the most rewarding aspect of being a student-athlete, specifically at the University?

SR: Just being able to impact other people, not just teammates. I think that basketball gave me an opportunity to get close to people I wouldn’t necessarily have had a relationship with. Like little kids at camp coming up and asking for your autograph, it’s the coolest thing in the world. Just to have somebody else tell you ‘I wanna be like so and so.’ It’s definitely rewarding. Now that I’m finished, it’s definitely an accomplishment because it’s not easy to be a student-athlete. There are days when you’re like, ‘How am I going to do this?’

LB, DH: What the most memorable win?

SR: The Army win was one for the books. We were up the whole game, but they came back to take the lead with four seconds left and that ridiculous shot went in. But we had a lot of comeback games this year that were memorable … The buzzer-beater week this year was crazy. I’ve never been a part of a buzzer beater, ever. And I was a part of four of them in one week! It was nuts.

LB, DH: What are some of the greatest learning experiences or lessons from the past four years?

SR: Sometimes [it’s okay to] slow down and enjoy [basketball]. Things can get so crazy, you don’t always realize how awesome the memories are. We had a tough stretch my sophomore year where we were losing a bunch of games, [got] new coaching staff, [and] just a lot of things going on. You get so caught up in the process that you don’t realize ‘You know, I’m 19 years old, and I’m in college, it’s not the end of the world if we lose a game, and it’s okay to not be perfect.’ I look back sometimes, and I wish sometimes I would relax. It’s so stressful. I just wish I would have had more time to just enjoy it. It’s hard when you care so much about something and then when it doesn’t go well, it seems like the end of the world. But when you take a step back, you realize you got a lot to be thankful for.

LB, DH: What do you think made you so successful?

SR: I’ve had a lot of support that I wouldn’t be where I am today without. My family has been incredible. My dad would shoot hoops with me every day. My parents and grandparents would come to every game. I’ve also had coaches that have really changed my life and helped me through a lot. It’s not easy to be a student-athlete and, of course, it takes a lot of hard work and effort. But everyone works hard. To really make you successful, you have to have a good support system, and I definitely have that.

LB, DH: Did you always want to play college basketball? Why?

SR: I always wanted to play basketball. I’ve been playing basketball forever (since second grade). I was a sports junkie all the way growing up, but I knew that I wanted to play ball.

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