Competitive Clubs

U of O softball team start their training early

Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff

WITH SNOW ON the ground, the University of Ottawa women’s softball team is heading indoors to gear up for their 2012 training season. With only one athlete graduating from the squad, the Gees look to be in good shape for next year.

“We’ve got a pretty unique team,” said head coach Scott Searle. “We have 13 players in training …  so we really wanted to capitalize on that and really improve in the off season.”

The Gees will practise three hours a week until their season picks up again in the fall, focusing on fitness and technical hitting. Although the squad performed admirably last season, Searle is confident with extra training and the experience of veteran players the Gees should be able to bring home a medal next season.

“We lost two games at the championship tournament by one run,” he explained. “Both teams that beat us, Toronto and Waterloo, are graduating their whole team, so it’s an easy experience for us because we will have all of [the athletes] back and we won’t have a graduating player for two years.

“We hope to improve on the season we had last year. We feel that with another clutch we should have a gold medal. We are extraordinarily close in our view.”

In addition to capitalizing on training time, the off-season is being used as an extended fundraising campaign. The team is currently planning a chocolate drive after months of selling coupon books, conducting hockey pools, and organizing free pitch tournaments. The Garnet and Grey also trains at Algonquin College’s indoor dome because it is cheaper than Minto Sports Complex at the U of O.

According to Searle, fundraising is a yearlong feat for the squad, as the cost of gas, hotels, and equipment goes up every year and the money the team receives from the university remains stagnant.

“The university gives us $3,000 and our budget is $11,000, so fundraising is the most important thing—more important than training sometimes,” he explained. “This is my 10th year with this program, and I think it is a little bit of a shame that we’re spending most of our time fundraising and training at another post-secondary education [institution] because we can’t get into ours.

“The money from the university has been the same for the past six years, so basically that gets you a lot less.”

Regardless of the struggles, Searle is looking forward to the 2012 training season and seeing what the squad can do come fall.

“We are really excited to get going and we are looking to hit the ground running,” he said.