Heidi Penna comes from a big family. The incoming freshman softball player is the sixth of 10 children - four brothers and five sisters - and the fourth of her clan to step into the world of college athletics.
Her oldest brother Robert pitched for Barry University in their native Miami, while elder sisters Missy and Leanne play softball at Stanford and Columbia universities, respectively. Her father also wrestled at the University of Florida.
So perhaps one would think Heidi has taken in a wealth of advice from those around her about what it means to be a student-athlete at the highest level.
"Not really," she said. "Nothing I remember."
That is not to say that she would necessarily need it. Penna began playing softball when she was "five or six" years old, coincidentally at about the same age one begins attending school. Thus softball and academics have always coexisted in her life.
"I guess if I wasn't going to play softball it would be weirder," she said of balancing the two in college.
Penna, a pitcher, said she first learned of GW through friend and high school teammate Jamie Yaniga, whose older sister Jackie recently graduated after a career as a two-sport Colonial in softball and volleyball. Jamie will be joining Penna on the school's softball team next season.
Like the elder Yaniga, Penna's athletic exploits have not been limited to the softball diamond. She too enjoyed a volleyball career, playing at Southwest Miami Senior High School for four years, where she also played basketball for three.
Yet she said softball was always her top priority - and it's not difficult to see why.
As a junior, she was named to the Dade County first team and the Florida Sports Writers Association's all-state second team after striking out 108 batters and compiling a 1.99 earned run average. This past season, her ERA dropped a full run to 0.99 as she again made Dade's first team and was selected to the Tampa Tribune's all-state third team. To top it all off, her 4.76 GPA earned her the Dade Schools Athletic Foundation Scholarship.
Numbers like these suggest that she has the student-athlete balance pretty well figured out so far. If the Colonials are lucky, she'll calculate opposing lineups just as well.