Throughout childhood, Rylee Whispel was never afraid of athletic challenges.
Whispel, who began competing in sports informally when she was 3 years old, made a habit of following around her older brother Jordan and his friends while growing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Luckily for Whispel, her older brother and his buddies loved playing sports. It didn’t matter that Whispel was 8 years younger. She was going to play no matter what.
“I was always hanging around my older brother and all of his friends. They were really into sports, so I started playing at a young age. We always played baseball in the neighborhood and I just started falling in love with it,” Whispel said.
Whispel attained a childhood dream by signing a letter of intent to play softball for the Miami of Ohio University RedHawks softball team. Whispel was the starting catcher for the Rogers Rams fastpitch team from 2011 through 2014. She loves being in control of the game from the catcher position.
“I love it. I wouldn’t want to play any other position,” Whispel said. “I have been the only catcher on our team for the past few years. It is a tough job and it hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve enjoyed it,” Whispel said. “I’ve had pretty good relationships with the pitchers I have caught for over the years. Working with them has made me a lot better of a player.”
Whispel has been the undisputed team leader of the Rams for the past two seasons.
“I know my teammates look up to me a lot. If someone doesn’t know what to do, they can come to me and I can help them out. It is definitely something I like to do for my teammates,” she said.
Whispel knows making the jump from high school fastpitch to the NCAA Division-1 Mid-American Conference will be a formidable challenge.
“They have a senior catcher this year that is graduating and another catcher coming in my recruiting class. I’m looking to play a major role in my first year with the team,” Whispel said.
Rylee’s mother Jo is happy her daughter will get a chance to continue her softball career in college.
“I’m just so glad she is able to fulfill her dream of playing college softball. She had a lot of opportunities and I’m really happy with the decision she made. I’m excited for her,” she said.