Erika Osherow is a third year softball pitcher from Darien, Connecticut. Since joining the team, she has taken a big role in the starting lineup, tossing over 411 innings with 208 strikeouts in her first two years. Osherow also has earned All-ACC Academic Team honors in each of her seasons.

Growing up as a pitcher for little league baseball, Erika just enjoyed the quality family time it provided. By the time she was nine, she decided to turn in pitching baseballs for softballs. “I never envisioned liking the sport as much as baseball and always thought the ball was too big. Ever since my first day tossing a softball to a bounce back in my yard, I fell in love with sport.” By the time she was getting recruited by colleges, Erika found that UVA was the best fit. She noted, “UVA provided an athletics and academic experience at one of the highest levels.” Here, she has the goal of working with her teammates to compete for an ACC championship and show how far the program has come. “It would be awesome to see the work that our coaches have already dedicated to this program and create outcomes that add to the legacy of Virginia Athletics.”

Much like any student-athlete, Erika needed to overcome obstacles that have threatened to impact her play. She has had to finish seasons with losing records and experience a coaching change. She also knows the pain of giving up the winning run in critical season games. However, through these changes and frustrations, she knows that she is looked upon to arrive at each game with a positive spirit and a drive to win. “When I’m able to see that my role as a player represents a much larger purpose and pride, I am able to re-ground myself in the importance of having fun and enjoying every single opportunity.”

Erika is also very involved off the field at UVA, planning to double major in both kinesiology and psychology. With this combination says Erika, “I plan to become a sports psychologist and incorporate my love for human connection along with sports performance. I want to help student-athletes create a positive performance and a growth-based mindset.”

Erika is involved with various extracurricular activities as well. She joined the Third Year Class Council and helped to start a “Kindness Rocks” project in order to display anonymous positive remarks around Grounds. Erika is also a part of the Student Athlete Mentor program, which promotes care and healthy habits that are not necessarily emphasized on the fields, like time management, sleep, team dynamics, and mental health. Lastly, through a Team IMPACT program, Erika and the softball team adopted a five-year-old girl who battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia onto the team. The girls were able to build a positive relationship and in turn received a new outlook on their lives as student-athletes at Virginia. Through her involvement at UVA, Erika has developed as a leader to her peers and a caring individual to the Charlottesville community.

When given the opportunity to thank VAF donors, Erika said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My life would not be what it is without the support and gracious donations of Lisa Palmer and countless other donors. The opportunity to simply be part of UVA is a gift. The ability to play a sport with the support of donors is even more special and I truly am forever grateful to be a Wahoo.”

Donor contributions to the VAF Annual Fund support student-athletes such as Erika in many ways including scholarships, the Athletics Academic Affairs program and sport-specific operational budgets. Erika is the 2018-2019 recipient of The Lisa and Frances Palmer Endowed Softball Scholarship Fund.