Iowa State head softball coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler enters her ninth season as the Cyclone head coach in 2014. Gemeinhardt-Cesler has guided the Cyclones to a 173-231 mark in her first eight years with the program. She holds a career mark of 326-207 record in 11 seasons of coaching collegiate softball.
Iowa State rewrote the offensive record books in 2013, breaking team records for batting average, slugging, RBI, runs scored, home runs, walks and stolen bases. Players also broke individual single-season records for RBI, home runs, runs scored, walks and stolen bases. Defensively, the Cyclones turned 29 double plays, fourth most in the country and another school record while setting a record in fielding percentage.
Seniors Erica Miller and Tori Torrescano put exclamation points on their careers, each player continuing her rise up the record lists. Miller drove in 52 runs on the year to finish her career with 149 RBI, both Iowa State records. On the last day of the season, Torrescano tied her own record, hitting her 14th home run of the season against Kansas and is the only Cyclone to ever slug above .600 in a career, ending with a .615 slugging clip. Both players walked 29 times, another Iowa State record, during the season.
Freshman Brittany Gomez lit up the basepaths with a record 31 stolen bases in her first season at Iowa State. Gomez led the team in average and hits for the year both overall and in Big 12 play. Junior Sarah Hawryluk finished the 26 stolen bases, the only Cyclone other than Gomez to ever eclipse 25 steals in a season.
For their prowess on the field, Miller and Gomez were named to the first and second All-Big 12 teams, respectively and were both second team all-conference selections by College Sports Madness. Miller capped her season with a NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team, her second consecutive all-region honor.
Sophomore Lexi Slater was named the Big 12’s top short stop, named to the inaugural All-Big 12 Defensive Team, which recognizes a defender at each fielding position. Slater was part of 12 double plays during the year, along with fellow middle infielder Sara Davison.
Five players were named to Academic All-Big 12 Teams for their work in the classroom, four players received top team honors.
In the circle, the four-player rotation helped secure seven more wins for the Cyclones than the team posted in 2012. Torrescano out-dueled No. 8 Oregon for Iowa State’s first top-10 win since 2009, the team earning a 2-1 win. Torrescano also defeated No. 14 Texas A&M in 2012.
Freshman Riley Fisher and Torrescano each threw no-hitters in 2013, just the second and third players to ever toss a no-no at Iowa State. The team’s four saves, two from Torrescano and two from Taylor Smith, are the most since 2010. The staff also allowed 32 fewer home runs than in 2012 and lowered its number of earned runs by 22.
The 2012 season was highlighted by a 2-1 win over No. 14 Texas A&M in Ames, the first top-15 win for the Cyclones since the 2009 season. The club also notched the greatest comeback in program history, coming back from deficits of 0-6 and 3-8 at Kansas to win, 10-9.
Miller was named to the All-Big 12 First Team for leading the Cyclones with a .362 batting average and was named to the NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team and College Sports Madness’ First Team. Torrescano set program marks with 14 home runs and 44 RBI and was named to the College Sports Madness All-Big 12 Second Team.
In 2011, Gemeinhardt-Cesler guided the Cyclones to two wins over ranked teams in No. 17 Oklahoma State and No. 17 Baylor. It marked the first time since 2006 that the squad beat two ranked opponents in the same season.
The Cyclones’ offense set or tied six school records during the season despite playing only 49 games, the shortest season since 2004. Iowa State batted .270 for the season, second all-time behind the 2010 standard of .275, while setting records for slugging (.408), on-base percentage (.353) and runs scored (225). The squad tied the 2010 record for RBIs with 196.
On the mound, senior Rachel Zabriskie closed out her Cyclone career with Iowa State records in appearances (171), games started (138), complete games (87) innings pitched (884.2), strikeouts (815), wins (67) and saves (seven), making her Gemeinhardt-Cesler’s most prolific recruit. Zabriskie is also one of the top pitchers in Big 12 history, ranked in the top 10 in innings pitched (ninth), appearances (ninth) and strikeouts (10th).
As a sophomore in 2010, Zabriskie collected an Iowa State-best 255 strikeouts in 227.2 innings pitched, a Cyclone-record 7.84 strikeouts per seven innings. Zabriskie finished the season with a school-record 20 wins, the third-straight year she broke the record for wins.
In 2009, Iowa State finished 26-29 overall and won a school-record seven games in Big 12 play. After starting slow in league action, Iowa State was the second-best team in the Big 12 over the final half of the season, going 6-3 to finish 7-11. The Cyclones advanced to the second round of the Big 12 Championships in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
Gemeinhardt-Cesler coached Iowa State to an 18-4 mark in 2008 before missing the season's final 36 games while taking maternity leave. The Cyclones finished 29-29 on the season, the most wins by the school since 1989 and the first time it finished .500 or better since 1995. The Cyclones set a school record for home runs with 38 for the year.
In Gemeinhardt-Cesler's second season, the coach's philosophy of blending speed and power began to take shape on the field as Iowa State nearly doubled its stolen base numbers from the previous year with 63 steals. The improved speed didn't hinder their power as the Cyclones hit 24 homers, the most since 2002.
In her first season in Ames, Iowa State showed improvement in nearly every hitting category, including a jump in batting average from just .208 in 2005 to .250 in 2006, the highest team batting average since 2002.
The Cyclones' first season under Gemeinhardt-Cesler included wins over No. 15 Texas A&M, No. 16 Nebraska and No. 22 Oklahoma in consecutive Big 12 series. Against the Aggies, Iowa State showed off its improved offense, pounding out a Big 12 school-record 14 runs in the six-inning win.
In seven seasons, Gemeinhardt-Cesler has coached 10 All-Big 12 honorees, including Courtney Wray and Erica Miller who earned first team distinction in 2009 and 2012 respectively, three NFCA All-Midwest Region selections, three Big 12 Players of the Week and 49 Academic All-Big 12 members.
Cyclones Zabriskie and Amanda Bradberry were Big 12 All-Tournament Team members in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
A two-time Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Coach of the Year selection at Division II Emporia State, Gemeinhardt-Cesler compiled a 153-76 record (.668) in just four seasons at ESU. Hired as a graduate assistant coach in August 2001, Gemeinhardt-Cesler took over the Hornet program in November following the retirement of Jo Kord.
The Hornet record book was rewritten during Gemeinhardt-Cesler's tenure, including the school marks for wins, home runs, runs scored, stolen bases and shutouts. Her players set the single-season mark for strikeouts, hits, doubles, RBI and stolen bases. Pitcher Melissa Stevens was named the league's 2005 MVP and earned NFCA All-America honors. She was tabbed the MIAA Freshman of the Year in Gemeinhardt-Cesler's second season.
Gemeinhardt-Cesler, a two-time all-conference performer at Missouri, began her coaching career as a student assistant at her alma mater, spending one season on the Tiger bench. The outfielder was a two-time team MVP for Missouri and earned all-region honors three times. A three-time Big 12 Conference all-tournament selection, Gemeinhardt-Cesler also earned NSCA and ASA All-America recognition, as well as academic All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. She finished her career ranked among the top 10 in nine career statistical categories, helping the Tigers make two NCAA regional appearances and earn the 1997 Big 12 Conference regular-season and tournament championships. Gemeinhardt-Cesler earned a bachelor's degree in social work from Missouri in 2001 and a master's of business administration from Emporia State in 2004.
Gemeinhardt-Cesler and her husband, Jeff Cesler, reside in Ames with their twin boys, Jakoby and Korbin.