WICHITA, Kan.—The softball team from Northwest has something to prove this season, and the Grizzlies plan to do just that. They are out to prove that they are capable of winning another City League title and making it to state. Northwest finished last season 18-4 and took second place in the City League.
The Grizzlies lost a strong group of seniors last season, but they have plenty of young new talent that is ready and able to step up and fill their shoes.
“We are working on finding commitment and dedication as a team,” Copeland said.
Emily Henning is the only returning senior this season.
“We’ve already been hearing a lot about having lost players last year, but this is probably the most cohesive team I’ve been a part of at Northwest. I would say we are definitely being underestimated right now, which is both a challenge and an opportunity,” Henning said.
The majority of the girls also feel as though Northwest should not be underestimated.
“Our expectations are to win the City League title and play well at state. We did lose some strong players last year, and we are out to prove that we are still a strong well-rounded team,” said junior Carlyn Walsh.
The Lady Grizzlies were disappointed about not making it to state last year, and they are working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.
“We are a strong team this season even though we are young. Copeland is one of the best coaches around, and with her coaching we will have a good season,” said junior Cassidy Harbert.
Harbert said they are all excited to get the season started, and are ready to get a shot at state.
“Last season was a disappointment, and we definitely don’t want a repeat,” Harbert said.
Henning said Northwest is hoping to regain the City League championship from Bishop Carroll this year, and to win regionals and earn that trip to state.
“We haven’t lost a game to Maize in three years, and I expect that pattern to continue. Being the only senior, I expected some trouble with leadership, but our juniors and sophomores have stepped up and are forming a team that really works well together,” Henning said.
Copeland said the girls will be trying to improve with every game.
"We are a young team, and our goal is to play the best we are capable of so that we can go as far as we can in the season. Getting them to understand the difference an error makes is going to be key this year," Copeland said.
Junior Erika David echoes the thoughts of her teammates.
“We want to win City League, and go to state this year. It is natural that people may underestimate our team this season, but we are determined and focused and we are out to prove that we will be a strong team that will have a successful season,” David said.
The girls open their season on Tuesday, Mar. 27 against Manhattan at 3 p.m. and Derby at 6:30 p.m. at TRYC.