This time last year, UBC’s softball team was readying for the end of their varsity program. After being named as one of five teams to get axed from varsity athletics in the 2014 Sports Targeting Review, the team was in its final games as a varsity squad.
Yet thanks to persistence by the team and a lawsuit to keep their varsity status, the team is back in action this year and mid way through a competitive season in the Cascade Collegiate Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. They currently sit sixth in the conference with a 7-16-0 record.
“It’s going pretty well,” team captain Quinn Dhaliwal said about their season so far. “We definitely had a good start. We had a rough weekend, but we’re looking to bounce back.”
“I have high expectations. For me, I’m disappointed with some of the outcomes. I’m not disappointed with the process in terms of development of each of the players and development of the team, but I’m a little bit disappointed that we aren’t able to convert a lot of the things we do in practice,” said head coach Gord Collings about the team's first few weeks of play. “It’s hard when you look at a record that isn’t very impressive to appreciate how much growth has taken place with each individual athlete and with the team. While the results don’t reflect it, I’m pretty pleased with how the team is coming along.”
The roster is made up of 15 athletes, most of which are first and second year students. “We definitely have a young team this year, but we had some trouble recruiting when our team got cut,” said Dhaliwal.
“It’s difficult for any athlete to come in as a freshman and play in a league that has athletes who are four or five years [older],” said Collings about his young roster.
Yet as Dhaliwal explained, the age difference doesn’t seem to have fazed the new recruits. “They’re doing amazing. A lot of the first-years are starters for us and they’ve just been doing exceptionally well. They’ve been really stepping up to the plate, literally.”
So far this season, Collings said a huge highlight is just being able to play as a varsity team.
Going forward with their season, the team hopes to better their standing and get into a playoff position in their conference. “We’re looking to finish strong and hopefully make top three [in the conference],” said Dhaliwal.
“We’re just pleased to be here and thank President Gupta for the opportunity to get us back on track,” said Collings.
The team has 14 games left in their season, 10 in the states and six hosted at Softball City in Surrey.