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Down to a Science

Randi Farricker’s big-picture approach has sent her on home run trots and a path toward a Ph.D.

Photograph by Marc Hall ’20 MA.

By Jack Daly ’01

Randi Farricker ’20 sees her 2021 power surge as the product of disparate yet interrelated threads.

There’s the superficial. “I’m 6-foot,” the NC State softball standout says. That was true in 2019 and 2020, when she hit eight home runs in 159 at-bats. And it was true in 2021, when she more than doubled that total to lead the ACC in home runs.

But Farricker also credits her development as a power hitter to a couple of elements. There’s the supportive environment created by head coach Jennifer Patrick-Swift, who emphasizes the importance of not being afraid to fail. It took some time, but Farricker internalized that approach in her third year in the program.

And then there’s Farricker’s embrace of a more holistic approach toward school and softball, which first took shape when she decided to transfer from Arizona State in 2018.

The California native says from the time she joined an elite travel softball program at age 12, coaches conditioned her to believe her destiny was to be a shortstop in the Pacific-12 Conference. Farricker committed to Arizona State after her freshman year.

Photograph courtesy of NC State Athletics.

My highlight is my teammates always. We were driving each other’s success. That’s what I’m going to remember, not a specific stat.

However, Farricker also grew up loving science and animals — a cousin had been a vet, and her sister rode horses. Farricker pursued a biochemistry major at Arizona State, but in the midst of her sophomore year, she realized studying animal science was as important as softball.

NC State appealed to Farricker. She transferred in for her redshirt sophomore year, but it still took time for her to make peace with the decision. “It was very difficult to accept that goals change,” Farricker says, “and you can still pursue that same goal and be excellent on your own and drive others to get to that place with you.”

Farricker used the extra season of eligibility granted to athletes in response to the COVID pandemic to pursue a master’s degree in animal science. She’s graduating with a concentration in dairy sciences this spring and is applying to Ph.D. programs, aiming to be a professor.

On the field, there have been the home runs and extra base hits. But Farricker takes a wider view. “Last year was just so much fun,” she says. “My highlight is my teammates always. We were driving each other’s success. That’s what I’m going to remember, not a specific stat.” 

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