Student-Athlete Profile | Kristen Acocella '21

Kristen Acocella at the plate against Elizabethtown in 2019 when she hit a three-run triple to lead the Red Devil softball team to a victory
Photo by Christian Payne

Today's Student-Athlete Profile turns to softball senior Kristen Acocella. She came to Dickinson from Redding, Connecticut, after graduating from Joel Barlow. Kristen earned a starting role in her first season as a Red Devil and was off another strong start last year, holding a .300 batting average before the 2020 season was canceled after four games. She earned All-Centennial Conference honors in 2019, helping the Red Devils win the conference championship and earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament. She led the team with 22 RBI in 2019, adding 19 runs scored while recording 36 hits with four triples and her first career homerun. She hit over .300 during the regular season and finshed at .293 on the year. Kristen has proved to be an outstanding defensive player in the Red Devil outfield, commiting just three errors in three years, playing in 80 games. Kristen shares her experiences over the past few months and provides some helpful insight to her classmates.

  • What made you come to Dickinson? I've known about Dickinson for a while. My sister graduated with the Class of '16, so I became very familiar with what Dickinson meant as both an academic and social community from an early age. I know several of the past softball players, so I knew that being a Red Devil would be a positive experience.
  • What have you enjoyed most about being a Dickinson Red Devil? There is amazing support from both the athletic and non-athletic community, which is special in a DIII environment. 
  • Are there any interesting stories or experiences you have had during the pandemic? I have been able to focus on classes, athletic training and still managed two jobs. I talk to my close friends and teammates every day, while rediscovering my home base. 
  • What are you doing to keep busy? I completed my internship early in COVID, while I played for the Stratford Brakettes, which is the top-rated semi-professional softball team in the northeast, where we captured our national championship in August! Played with college players from all over the country. I also played on a Slow-pitch team with a bunch of my friends and we won the tournament! I continued my athletic training and continued at a horse farm where I train and care for horses.
  • What do you miss most about not being able to play your season? I really missed the experiences with my teammates and the opportunity to defend our Centennial Conference Championship and another trip to the NCAA Regionals. Looking forward to Spring '21 for that. 
  • What kinds of things are you doing to train and stay in shape? Lots of running outside and in-gym cardio and weight training. I will be resuming my hitting training in mid-November.
  • What do you miss most about not being at school/on campus? I really miss being with my friends on campus for our final senior year. The daily interaction on campus is what makes Dickinson special, along with the sports spirits and social experiences.
  • How have you adjusted to remote learning? It hasn't been too tough in that most of my courses have been live Zoom set-ups, which continues to support live classroom interaction with professors and students.
  • Has it been easy or difficult? Dickinson is big on self-empowerment academically, so I think I was prepared for the transition to virtual.
  • Are there any advantages you have experienced? I have been able to work and save money, but I definitely miss being on campus, being with my friends, and taking in-person classes. 
  • What advice do you have for incoming students (or other students in general) about remote learning and/or how you are training? Measure the pros and cons for each individual and how to decide what may work best for each, whether that be deferring registration or moving forward. Don't give up on your training. Find a friend in the same situation and perhaps train together to keep competitive. That has worked for me. I would also tell seniors to use their 5th year to their advantage if they are able to do so!
  • Have you/How have you been able to keep in contact with your classmates/friends/teammates during this time away from campus? I am in regular communication with my close friends and teammates. We have been able to get together on a few occasions which has helped get through this period. 
  • Why are you Dickinson Proud? Why do you think more generations of student-athletes should come to Dickinson? Representing Dickinson as a Red Devil has been an enjoyable experience. I've made friendships through softball and all athletic teams that will last a lifetime and you won't find that just anywhere. Can't wait to be back and Roll Devs!

 Kristen Acocella at the plate, playing with her club softball team to prepare for the upcoming season after the 2020 campaign was canceled Kristen Acocella sits on her horse, riding to keep in shape after the spring 2020 softball season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic Photo of Dickinson softball player Kristen Acocella at work while the campus was remote in the fall of 2020