Jackson, Tenn. native Ellen Renfroe is in her second season pitching for the Vols softball team. Renfroe’s poise in the circle and her exemplary academic accomplishments prove her to be a true all-around student-athlete.
As a freshman, Renfroe was selected as an All-American, named SEC Tournament’s most valuable player and received SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Renfroe not only carries a winning attitude on the field, but also portrays an admiral attitude off the field.
"On a daily basis, Ellen is a leader by example,” Lady Vols co-head coach Karen Weekly said. “Everyone sees how she goes about her business, the effort she puts into her workout, and how serious she is about pitching. There is a sense that the team wants to work well behind her because she gives 100 percent to get ready for them.”
Although Renfroe is still a young athlete, she learned quickly how to adapt to tough Division-I softball. In 2011, Renfroe displayed a 26-7 overall record from the circle, a 1.50 ERA and 259 strikeouts in 201 innings. Already in 2012, Renfroe has three solo shutouts and 60 strikeouts in just 43 innings of work. She was also named SEC Player of the Week after her efforts at the Kajikawa Classic last week.
Renfroe’s quick transition from high school to college ball came with a number of difficult transitions.
“I learned not to lose confidence in yourself,” she said. “In the SEC, people are going to hit the ball hard and get onto base, and thats OK. That’s one big thing I had to overcome my freshman year. I’m excited for this year to see how much I’ve grown.”
Ellen isn’t the only Renfroe on the Lady Vols’ team. Her sister, Ivy, is currently a junior pitcher.
“Having my sister on the team helped a lot,” Ellen said. “She was able to walk through how to prepare for the season and she is always there when I need to talk about the mental and physical aspects of pitching.”
The younger Renfroe and her teammates are working hard to achieve their season goals and improve from last year.
“Personally, my main goal is to be better every day and to  keep the other team off the scoreboard,” she said. “As a team, try and keep the WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) under one. I don’t really have any number goals, just to win. I try not to make it too much about stats and make sure it’s about the team. As long as the team is winning, I’m happy.”
Spare time is hard to find for Ellen, but when she has the opportunity to get away from softball for a little bit she enjoys relaxing with friends and watching movies.
“My favorite outside-of-sports-movie is ‘Pride and Prejudice,’” she said. “My favorite sports movie is ‘Remember the Titans.’ I love the movie so much I can quote it.”
MLB player Albert Pujols is an inspiration to Renfroe and her softball career.
 “I look up to him for how hard he works and his faith in the Lord,” Renfroe said. “He shows that when he plays and has always been really inspiring to me.”
Ellen and the Lady Vols are looking forward to a great season. The Lady Vols are on the road this week for the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla.