Softball seeks national run with veteran leadership

by Billy Weathers


A storied history of champions, All-Americans and conference titles, a veteran and well-respected coach, and a consistent spot on top the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference year after year.

Time to continue tradition as Simpson softball begins their journey this week in Michigan.

Head Coach Henry Christowski and his team of talented and determined assistant coaches look to continue their yearly success within the IIAC.

After finishing last year 29-15 and 10-6 in the Iowa Conference, the Storm will look to keep building on success and will turn to a seasoned group of seniors for leadership and guidance. Placing third was a great accomplishment, but the team feels as if they can improve and take home the conference title this season.

Five determined and hardworking seniors will represent as the upper-classmen heading into the 2013 season. After learning from numerous great groups prior to them, they have everything it takes to dominate this year.

“I really believe this team has the ability to make it to nationals this year,” said senior Leslie Downing. “First things first though, we have to do well in conference and regional play so we can’t overlook succeeding in those areas.”

Injuries hindered the team early in the season and throughout the entire year. It forced younger and less experienced players to step up and contribute immensely to the team’s progress.

“We have a lot of talented players who can play different roles for the team,” said Downing.

The ladies will be tested early as the head to Marquette, Michigan Feb. 22 for the Finlandia Dome Tournament. Winning this tournament, or even doing well, will earn the team substantial regional points for post-season play. The ladies will be competing against six other tough teams all looking for post-season points and early season momentum.

As a student athlete, you’re sometimes forced to give up experiences and events that other college kids live for. The Storm will be heading to Kissimmee, Florida over their spring break, but if you were to ask any of the ladies on that trip, they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

They will be forced to handle another tough schedule, but will look to compete against some great competition. New to this year, the junior varsity program will also have a chance to showcase their skills.

Simpson will also get a chance to showcase their talents against the ranks of division one and division schools while down in Florida.

With seasoned vets like senior ace Kacee Arey leading the charge the ladies are hoping to jump out to fast start and keep their foot on the pedal.

“Last year I would say we didn’t go as far as we had hoped,” said Arey. “We definitely have some unfinished business to take care of this season!”

Anything less than a conference title would be a disappointing year, according to the players, who see no reason to settle for anything less. They have put in the hard work and have seen what it takes to reach the top. The only thing left to do, is prove it!

With fierce practices and game like situations created to give the ladies a real life feel, the competition within the team is intense.

“There is always that pressure of performing your best at every practice, and every game,” said junior Hillary Harmon.

Simpson will hit the field against archrival Central on Wed., April 3 to begin conference play.

“I think our team has a lot of flexibility and quality ball players all around,” said Arey. “I see our team doing great things here in the near future.”