After a year of being banished from the UBC Athletics’s Varsity program, the UBC women’s softball team is back in the game. Following a long review process, the team was given their varsity status back last Monday.
“It’s a second chance,” said head coach Gord Collings. “Now we have to go over some stuff and fulfill our end of it.”
In the beginning of 2014 the team was relegated to club status at the conclusion of UBC's sports review. Along with the alpine skiing and nordic skiing, the women’s softball team were reduced to club status.
This was a huge blow to the softball team. It had only existed for a couple of seasons and was still in the growing process. With the promise of new recruits and a new field by UBC (that never came) in their 2013-14 year, the team was left high and dry.
But the team wasn't disheartened or discouraged. A year later, they gathered together and made plans to step up to the plate as Thunderbirds again.
“We presented a plan that they were very accepting of,” Collings said. “We’ve put an application in to the Cascade Conference, which the boy's baseball team plays in.”
The team currently has 16 student athletes who are competing in the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) against Cascade conference universities in the States. Coach Collings is looking to expand that.
“We’ve been behind the eight-ball a little bit. We haven’t had the opportunity to recruit because we haven’t had a team in the varsity status,” he said. “Recruiting quality athletes is a challenge.”
The team is working closely with UBC, donors and supporters for long term funding that meets the next review’s criteria. On the front lines though, they will be holding tryouts for new recruits on the second week of September.
“We’re very excited,” Collings said. “Me and the girls are very happy to have been given an opportunity to get back into it!”