True leaders possess many vital characteristics: the ability to motivate, put the team first, and lead by example.
Jace Brinkerhoff is only a sophomore, but the Utah Valley baseball team looks to him for leadership.
As a freshman, he hit .371 and started in 42 of the 55 games played. He was also named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American 1st team as a utility player.
"I love being the leader," Brinkerhoff said. "The added pressure motivates me to do my best on the field."
The role of leader is not a position that Brinkerhoff is unfamiliar with. At Spanish Fork High School he was named Utah 5A State MVP after leading them to the State Championship.
One thing he is not used to is losing. "I’ve had one losing season, and it was with my basketball team in high school," Brinkerhoff stated.
The Wolverines are 4-17-1 as of March 25. "I hate losing," he said. "It’s frustrating, we just need to step up and do what we know we can do."
Not only is Brinkerhoff a leader in the locker room, but on the field as well. This season he leads the team in all three major batting categories. He is batting .340 with 20 RBI’s and three homeruns.
"I do the best I can do to get the team a victory," He said. "Wins are the only stat that matter to me."
In 2007 Brinkerhoff pitched 68.2 innings, but has only pitched in one this year due to health concerns. However, he will do anything to help his team succeed.
Despite the Wolverines less than outstanding record, Brinkerhoff is still optimistic. "I feel that our record doesn’t reflect our ability, and we are going to turn it around soon."
Like most athletes at Utah Valley, he feels that more fan support is needed for the baseball team. However, that has not changed the fact that he enjoys going out on the field and playing everyday.
Even though he is an outstanding ballplayer, if baseball does not work out, he has career goals in mind.
Brinkerhoff is currently majoring in exercise science and either wants to go to medical school to become a pediatrician or get into physical therapy.
"I’ll take baseball as far as I can, but I also have other career goals in mind," Brinkerhoff said.