It was an announcement heard around the Bears community as the softball team had made it to the big stage for the first time in team history.
The Bears had a season to remember this past year achieving a historical milestone by qualifying for the NCAA Super Regional for the first time in the University of Northern Colorado’s history.
It was not an easy road as the softball team had to endure multiple opponents in the Big Sky tournament before they made it to the NCAA Super Regional. After defeating Idaho State twice to capture the Big Sky Championship, UNC traveled to Washington for the NCAA Super Regional to play Minnesota in the first round. Unfortunately, the season would end by suffering a 4-0 defeat against Minnesota in their first game in the Super Regionals.
Despite their efforts, the team faced challenges in generating offense as they struggled to land hits despite making contact. Even with this loss, UNC has set a standard for its softball program and demonstrated the ability to compete against larger schools. Looking ahead, the team hopes that this experience will serve as motivation for a return to the Super Regionals.
The team’s unity and determination throughout the season has created a connection for Dedeann Pendleton-Helm, head coach. Overcoming challenges throughout this past season helped strengthen the team and helped them come back even stronger to win the Big Sky title. Pendleton-Helm won her first championship in her first season at UNC. With this milestone achieved, it’s a promising look into the future. The want and need for improvement start now for the team.
Alyssa Wenzel is a fifth-year player for the UNC Bears Softball team. Softball has been a big part of her life throughout the years.
“I’ve been playing softball since I was five and a half and it really helped me learn who I was as a person, as a leader and kind of led me in the right direction in life,” Wenzel said.
For her, it is not about the history of making it to the Super Regionals for the first time, but rather who it was won for and the accomplishments that were achieved.
“I thought about it as we accomplished [what] we really wanted to last season,” Wenzel said. “We have a whole new coaching staff which is amazing and the first thing I could think of is that we did it for them.”
Since achieving the historic milestone, fans have been more interested and excited to check out the team in action. One fan shared this excitement about the Bears making it to the Super Regionals for the first time. James Pelletier is an economics major at UNC. Pelletier has been a loyal fan of UNC since starting at the university.
“I think it’s really exciting,” Pelletier said. “I can’t believe it’s never happened before; our team is fantastic.”
Hearing encouragement from fans makes the team want to go farther in the future. An improvement that Pelletier mentioned was making sure to keep up the good teamwork and communication.
Overall, the UNC softball team has put themselves in the spotlight. As the fall and spring seasons are approaching, fans will need to gear up to support their fellow Bears as they look to go farther into the Super Regionals this year. The team plays their first home game starting at 12 p.m. on Sept. 16 against the Western Nebraska Cougars.