From the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team to the 2005 Texas Longhorns football national championship team to the 2017 Houston Astros — what did all of these teams have in common? Undeniable chemistry.
The Longhorn softball team looks to bounce back from last weekend’s pedestrian start to the season by heading to Mexico in hopes of displaying the kind of chemistry that championship teams need.
“We’re ready,” sophomore catcher Taylor Ellsworth said. “We’ve been practicing hard to come out everyday ready to work. Our chemistry this year is unbelievable. We’re just ready to come out and play.”
During last week’s games, the youth of the team, especially in the infield, got its first taste of regular season action. Freshman Janae Jefferson got off to a hot start, recording a total of five RBIs over her first four games. Fellow freshman MK Tedder flashed the glove at third base.
The team chemistry has been a process to build this year. In the fall season, Texas’ freshmen got their first taste of collegiate competition. But it wasn’t the only way the team bonded together.
“The main thing that we did this fall that was kind of special was a triathlon,” Erica Wright, a redshirt junior pitcher, said. “And at first we thought this is insane, we play softball, why do we have to do this? But honestly, it brought us together as a team, and it helped build us mentally as well as physically.”
The players were not the only ones involved in the triathlon. The coaching staff also played a role.
“I was doing music and holding up signs and following them around,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “But what a special experience that was for the athletes. Working through the triathlon was special for us because they got uncomfortable and learned they could get through tough things together.”
The fall season and the experience already on the roster has the team looking forward to the rest of the season. The upperclassmen feel inspired to lead the youth of the team.
“I am excited to have fun on the field,” senior captain Randel Leahy said. “I’m excited because our team chemistry has been so amazing and the fall was awesome.”
This upcoming weekend, the Longhorns will play Rutgers, Houston, No. 15 Ole Miss and No. 3 Oregon in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge. Last year, Texas struggled to notch a signature win early in the season en route to an early NCAA
Texas has a chance to not only exceed expectations this year, but also do something the 2017 Longhorns were unable to accomplish early last season, with two top-15 teams on the schedule this weekend in Mexico for potential
“I think that we’re young, and I think people are underestimating us a lot,” Ellsworth said. “That being said, I think that we have more room to grow. We’re very coachable and come out everyday ready to play. The bar is real high, and we are ready to reach it.”