Young and Tough: The 2016 Olympus High School Softball Team
Apr 07, 2016 01:04PM
● By Sarah Almond
By Sarah Almond | [email protected]
Cottonwood - Holladay - On paper, the Olympus High School softball team might look unthreatening. Aside from just a few returning girls with varsity experience, the team has a significant amount of young players, most of whom have never picked up a glove before.
However, with the team’s daily dedication to improve and each player’s individual athletic ability, the Titans have their sights set on a successful season.
“I think we’ll struggle in the beginning, but we’ve got so much athleticism on the team that once people catch on, I think we are actually going to do pretty well this season,” Olympus head coach Madison White said. “I know a lot of people think we don’t have a lot of girls who know how to play softball, but we’ve got 20 girls that are willing to come and work hard, and they are already pretty great athletes, so we might surprise a few people.”
Twenty-five girls showed up for tryouts, with 20 making the final cut. Though these numbers are typical for the Holladay area, the group welcomed on a larger underclassmen group than normal.
“We have a pretty young team this year,” White said. “We have a lot of new girls, but at the same time, we also have a good core group of seniors that have been here for all three years. So we have a good mix.”
One of the Titans’ new young players is freshman Emma Merchant, the team’s promising new pitcher.
“We have a really good freshman pitcher, Emma, that I think is going to help us out a lot this year,” White said. “She is going to do some really great things.”
Along with changes in the team dynamic, Olympus recently moved from Region 7 to Region 6 within Class 4A, meaning it has an entirely new lineup against teams it has rarely played. Knowing the challenges they face, the Titan’s are committed to improving their skills.
“We are focusing on hitting, because the more runs you can score, the better chance you have to win games,” White said. “I think we’ll be pretty good on defense, so we really want work on being able to score runs and put runs on the board. We definitely want to focus on hitting and moving runners around.”
Every year, the team travels to St. George to play in a weekend tournament. For White and her players, this weekend away is the highlight of the season.
“It’s so much fun,” White said. “We don’t even necessarily go for the softball part but more for the team bonding. The girls have to do a lip-sync battle, and we all go out to dinner, and we have a water balloon fight. And it’s nice that it’s at the beginning of the season because that’s when everybody has their best friend, and in St. George everyone gets to know each other, and we really become a team.”
Making new friends and establishing a bond between team members is one of the reasons players are attracted to softball.
“I’m excited for the season because I feel like our team can benefit from each and every girl,” senior Natalie Ford said. “I’m also looking forward to the teamwork and how we bond and stuff. There are some players on the team that I barely know, but I’m excited to get to know them as the season progresses.”
With camaraderie and sportsmanship backing their ever-improving skills, the Olympus softball team is expecting to have a memorable season—regardless of wins or losses.
“Even in the first week, the athleticism improved so much,” White said. “The girls caught on so fast, and that’s why I think we are going to do pretty well this year.”
The Titans play their last home game against Judge Memorial High School on May 3 at 3:30 p.m.