Readers’ pick: Jasmine Whitney
One of softball’s greatest players is still swinging the bat for the Colonials after continuing her time at GW as a graduate student.
With top five finishes in 14 career hitting records at GW, graduate student infielder Jenna Cone used her extra year of eligibility to come back for a fifth year and close out her career. Her dominance on offense, coupled with her veteran leadership around the diamond, is the reason she’s this year’s editor’s pick for best female athlete.
Cone’s presence on the field was felt from the minute she stepped foot in Foggy Bottom in 2016. As a freshman, she knocked an Atlantic 10-leading 18 home runs and set six GW single-season records. She was named Rookie of the Year and tabbed First Team All-Conference and All-Rookie honors.
She didn’t slow down as a sophomore, leading her squad in home runs (12) and RBIs (61). But her junior campaign saw another eruption as Cone elevated her game once again.
Cone broke her own single-season home run record, slicing 20 dingers out of the park, and she became the program leader in RBIs. She helped her squad to its winningest season in program history and was an integral part in her team’s first share of an A-10 Championship and postseason appearance.
Her monumental season awarded her softball’s first A-10 Player of the Year in 2019.
The squad was prepared for another title run in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the team’s 2020 season, ending Cone’s senior season prematurely. But when the NCAA granted spring athletes another year of eligibility, Cone jumped at the chance to finish her career with a second A-10 Championship ring.
After already holding the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 spots in all-time single season home runs, Cone’s 11 home runs through 29 games in 2021 is on pace to etch her name in the top-four spots in the category. She doesn’t just have power – Cone has also maintained productivity and consistency. She leads the team with a .852 slugging percentage and her .398 batting average ranks fourth among the squad.
Head coach Shane Winkler said this year that the squad’s veteran leadership – including Cone – continues to be “one of the biggest keys” for the squad’s success as it remains perfect in league play. After five years in the buff and blue, Cone has changed the way we look at GW’s softball program, making her an ideal pick for best female athlete.