The Yellow Jacket softball team is gearing up for a strong showing in the Dakota Athletic Conference for the 2009 spring season. After finishing third in the conference last May, Coach Gurney and the Jackets are ready to continue to move up the ranks in the conference. “We had a strong showing last year, moving from 7th place the previous year to finishing 1 run away from the championship game last spring,” Coach Gurney commented. The team put us in a position to win last year after making it to the semi-finals, and now that they have the experience, I am expecting them to use it to get us to the DAC Championship.”
The Jackets are returning a strong core of athletes from last year’s team including senior pitcher Jessica Clark and 2nd baseman Kelli Graham from Sturgis, SD. “I am expecting our seniors to lead our team to reach our goals this year. The two of them are great examples of what it means to be seniors. They put in extra time and expect the best out of themselves,” added Coach Gurney. They are joined by eight more returners: Sara Turner, Karissa Norte, Heidi Kwilinski, Ashley Berg, Nicole Albers, Krista Gleiforst, Ashley Grose, and Kelsey Lock.
The Jackets added eight players for the 2009 season. Junior Danielle Briere transferred here from Dawson Community College. “I am really happy with my decision to transfer here this year. Coach Gurney runs a strong program and keeps us headed in the right direction. I am also very happy with my degree program. I am a pre-dentistry student and feel like I am going to get the education needed to move on with my degree,” commented junior transfer Danielle Briere.
Briere is joined by five freshmen: Katie Wagner, Alyssa Graziano, Aleishia Giesey, Rachel Weaver, and Maria Weber. “We have a strong group of freshman this year. They will continue to grow as our program grows. We were lucky to bring in two strong South Dakota athletes, Katie Wagner and Maria Herber. They are great representatives of what South Dakota softball players can do in college,” said Coach Gurney.
The Lady Yellow Jackets will start their season on March 8th in Cocoa Beach, Florida for their spring break trip. They will play ten games down south against NAIA and NCAA division II and III teams. They will begin conference play March 21st at Dakota State with their first home games scheduled for March 28th against Minot and Valley City.