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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Softball looks to rebuild in advance of spring season

By Hannah Johnson

The Macalester softball team took a hit this year when eight of their 11 players graduated. Luckily, they were able to recruit several new first years and the team is looking to build and improve this year.With eight players having graduated, there were only three returning players-one of whom will be studying abroad during their season in the spring. Recruitment this year had to be strong and it was. In total, the team composition is 10 first years, 3 sophomores, and 1 junior.

“We knew we had a significant need with the graduation of our seniors,” Athletics Director Kim Chandler said, “so that along with having young women who were interested in the program and interested in Mac. It’s a very directed effort in terms of maintaining healthy roster numbers.”

All 10 of the first years were recruited independently, through the admissions process. Two of the sophomores were recruited through an ad placed in the Daily Piper.

“I put the notice in because there is always a chance someone comes to Macalester that has a softball background that I didn’t recruit that might be a good player that changes her mind and might want to play,” coach Thomas Cross said.

Chandler, Cross, and the players are all hoping to maintain the strong recruitment in the coming years to avoid the problem of such a large graduating class of players in one particular year.

“We don’t want the same cycle to occur,” softball captain Courtney Nussbaumer ’13. ” We want to add players to the roster, also build that competitive edge.”

Because the team will be almost completely different this year, it has provided a new perspective on what direction the team should head.

“We’re very youthful, we have a long way to go, but the attitude is great,” Cross said.

Nussbaumer and the other captain Amanda Knopf ’12 echo this idea. They are looking forward to a new team with new talents.

“There’s sort of a new attitude. The incoming freshmen don’t have any prior expectations,” Knopf said.

That being said, it is also a building season. Though most of the incoming first year players have softball experience, there is still lots to learn about the game and the team.

“I think anytime you’re competing in the MIAC and anytime you lose the quality seniors that we did in the program-who had been longstanding and terrific performers and, you know, that’s lots of school records walking out the door-anytime you have that need to fill in those starting positions, I think it’s an enormous transition,” Chandler said.

The seniors last year had been with the team all four years and had begun to feel slightly disillusioned with the direction the team was heading.

“If you look at our record, there were many games where we could have done things,” Nussbaumer said. “The intensity at practice just wasn’t there.”

This year, Knopf and Nussbaumer voiced their concerns to Cross and the athletics department, both of whom they feel have been supportive of a new direction.

“There’s been a dialogue that’s been really helpful for us,” Knopf said. “TC [Thomas Cross] knows it’s coming from the players now and is definitely meeting us there.”

More than anything, Cross feels it is important just to keep improving. He is proud of the balance the team has been able to accomplish between athletics and academics, having won First place in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Academic Team honors in 2008 and 6th place last year. Cross feels this sends an important message about incorporating both academics and athletics into players’ lives at Macalester.

“It’s important to me that they have fun,” Cross said. “It’s always a goal to win more games. Obviously, we’re hoping for that.

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