MCGILL: Uncommon Work Ethic Key to Tribolet's D-I Dream
The Word on the Herd -- May 3, 2018
By Chuck McGill
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Eloise Tribolet is unique, and not simply because she is a native of France and the first international player Marshall softball coach Jen Steele has ever had in one of her programs.
Tribolet, a 5-foot-9 outfielder who is preparing for this weekend’s Senior Day festivities after playing two seasons for the Thundering Herd, is wired differently – almost to a fault. She devotes countless hours to self-improvement through strength training, conditioning and practicing her chosen sport. Sometimes, Steele has to remind the Meyzieu, France product to ease up in the batting cage.
“You don’t have to swing until your hands bleed,” Steele said, “but that’s her work ethic. She’s one of the hardest workers on the team.”
That’s who Tribolet has been since she joined the Herd for the 2017 season. She has played in 100 games – 95 starts – and has evolved from an international player without any Division I recruiting interest to an all-conference player and one of the most vital components to Marshall’s success.
“She’s so competitive and so hard on herself that it took me and our coaching staff a really long time to learn her,” Steele said.
Tribolet started playing baseball at the age of 9, and then transitioned to softball when she was 14 or 15 years old, she said. That is when she started dreaming of a collegiate career in the United States, but she thought those ambitions were far-fetched. A friend and teammate disagreed with Tribolet, and told her to start working toward her Division I goal.
“How could that possibly happen?” Tribolet recalled telling her friend. “I’m not good enough.”
But she studied hard, made good grades and polished her English. She first moved to Montreal, Canada, and spent a year there while sending out recruiting letters to softball coaches across the United States.
Tribolet received interest, but some schools were only offering a partial scholarship. Because of finances, she needed a full ride. Gulf Coast State College, a junior college in Panama City, Florida, was the first to offer a full scholarship. Tribolet visited and committed to spend two years there while maintaining her dream of playing at a higher level.
“That was my first time in the States,” Tribolet said of her recruiting visit. “My goal was to always play Division I.”
While at Gulf Coast she hit .440 as a sophomore and led the team with 77 hits and 52 stolen bases in 53 games. She ranked ninth in the nation in steals in 2016, which caught the attention of the speed-centric coaching staff at Marshall. While at a showcase tournament in Florida, Tribolet noticed the Thundering Herd’s coaches, but did not know if they were there to see her or other players on the same field. It turned out, Marshall wanted her.
“I had never heard of Marshall,” Tribolet said. “I knew that was my shot to play D-I, so I had to go for it.”
It was at Gulf Coast where Tribolet picked up the nickname “Weezy,” and she brought her new moniker and passion for softball to Huntington. She made an immediate impact as a junior college transfer, batting ninth and playing stellar defense for a team that finished 42-12, cracked the national rankings and reached the NCAA tournament. Tribolet started all 54 games, batted .288 and made the Conference USA all-conference second team.
Steele also lauded Tribolet for being dedicated to her studies, too, where she became a C-USA academic medal winner and landed on the league’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
“She’s done an incredible job in the classroom,” Steele said.
That sets Tribolet up for her next step after Marshall. She is considering graduate school elsewhere so she can continue to explore this side of the world, and she has a job opportunity to return to Canada. The dream she felt was too far out of reach ended up being well within her grasp. She worked to make sure that happened.
“You’re talking about an athlete who wants to do nothing but softball and lift weights and exercise,” Steele said. “She’s very driven.”