Editor’s note: This profile on Janet Nagle ’06 is the ninth in a 13-part series by Valerie Turgeon ’13 on the alumni who will be inducted into the St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 19. Read a new profile every day in tommiesports.com.
Janet Nagle ’06 is reminded of the “Tschida-isms” that have become part of her life, even 10 years after she joined the St. Thomas softball team.
“He instilled in us a respect for the game, a respect for one another as valuable teammates and a respect for our opponents,” she said of Coach John Tschida. "We had our own system and culture -– a code of our own, you might say. This ‘culture’ was something that was taught to us by Coach Tschida and all the players who came before us. It was a torch that we carried proudly and passed on to new team members.
“It is still something that is very difficult to explain to someone who had not put the time, sweat or tears into the same goal that we shared for four years. That bond and that sense of family that we had as teammates -– it was something else.”
Nagle’s teams were able to reach the top, and she led the way to a 169-20 record as a four-year starter, including NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005 and second place in 2006.
Nagle’s achievements include two-time All-America pitcher and three-time MIAC Pitcher of the Year, 2004 Honda Division III Softball Player of the Year and a member of the Division III College World Series All-Tournament Team from 2004 to 2006. She among 10 players selected for the Division III Softball 25th Anniversary Team and was profiled in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”
• Compiled a 44-1 pitching record against conference opponents. She won her last 31 decisions in 2004 as part of a Division III-record 43-game team winning streak.
• Broke the Division III record for consecutive victories with 34 in 2006 and finished her career ranked in the top 20 in strikeouts (696 in 555 innings) and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
• Finished 25-1 in NCAA postseason games with a 1.03 earned-run average, 163 strikeouts and 48 walks. She ranked third in Division III career wining perception at .923 (84-7), including 81 wins over her last three seasons. She ranks 12th in shutouts with 45.
• Ranks in the top seven in MIAC history with 24 career home runs. She also had 150 hits, 115 RBI, 36 doubles, two triples, 62 extra-base hits, 65 runs and 50 walks while batting .348 (.603 slugging) in 171 games.
Despite the team’s success, Nagle didn’t realize how good the Tommies really were in 2004, when she was a sophomore.
“I would teeter between constantly surprising myself for how well I was pitching,” she said, “and feeling confident that I could continue to dominate because of all the work that I had already put in to prepare myself for the next challenge.”
When the Tommies won their first national title, “it was a bit of a blur!” she said. “Being a pitcher, I tried very hard to only focus on the next pitch or the next play and minimize the many distractions around me. Each position player needed to have a different kind of focus on the field and I am sure we all took away different memories, although we were all a part of the very same experiences.”
The following year, St. Thomas beat top-ranked Washington University of St. Louis to make it to national tournament. Nagle recalls her teammates being “on fire” and how they started to peak. “It felt like we were an unstoppable force. It was a really fun tournament, and set the stage for the games to come.”
Nagle applauds the hard work put in by her teammates and said they didn’t get by on luck.
“Our opponents knew how hard working, and possibly crazy, we were,” she said. “To this day I have old opponents on summer fast-pitch teams who will talk to me about our college careers and mention how strong our UST softball program was.”
And she always will remember the “Tshida-isms.”
“The things I learned in his program have definitely assisted in making me a better nurse, wife, friend, daughter, co-worker and teammate,” she said.
After graduating from St. Thomas, Nagle played for a year with the Michigan Ice, a National Pro Softball team, and returned to school to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Loyola University in Chicago. She has been a registered nurse for five years at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“I work in the hospital setting on a stem-cell transplant floor,” she said. “We do chemotherapy and stem cell (and bone marrow) transplants for patients with diseases and cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, other rare blood disorders and some solid tumor cancers. I commute to work two to three days a week, working full time, with 12 hour shifts.”
She married Joshua Franzen in 2001 and they bought their first home last year. They have an 11-month-old pit bull rescue dog named Hank.
Nagle looks forward to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony because “it will be really nice to get to spend an evening with some of the greatest players in UST softball history.”
She is thankful for the guidance and enthusiasm of her parents, Doug and Nancy, who rarely missed a game, to the team’s extended softball family and to her teammates. “They were the reason why I showed up and gave it all, every single day,” she said.
And again, she thanked Tschida, or “Papa” as the team called him, “for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his softball program and for pushing me to be better ‘physically, mentally, and emotionally.’ ”
Jake Barkley 2003 Football
Nikki Conway 2006 Softball
Roman Cress 2003 Track & Field
Carrie Embree 2007 Softball, Basketball
Jane Gibbs-Becker 2004 Volleyball
Kristal Grigsby 2006 Track & Field
Andrew Hilliard 2003 Track & Field, Football
Diane Loughlin Urick 1989 Track & Field, Cross Country
Janet Nagle 2006 Softball
Steve Pignato 1997 Baseball
Isaac Rosefelt 2007 Basketball
Tessie Thompson 2003 Soccer
Michelle Wong 2005 Softball