(Crookston, Minn.) – The University of Minnesota, Crookston Softball team opens its 2008 season this Sunday, February 24 at the Husky Dome in St. Cloud, Minn. The team begins competition against Dakota State University at 2:00 p.m. UMC faces St. Cloud immediately after at 4:00 p.m.
The Golden Eagles are a mixture of experience and youth. The team looks to seven returners to help lead the Golden Eagles into Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play. Shawna Steinbrink (Jr, 3B, Crookston, Minn.), Tracy Nyhus (Jr, 2B/OF, Almena, Wis.), Britney Winkelman (Jr, P, Foley, Minn.) and Lorelei McGee (Jr, OF, Moose Lake, Minn.) lead the team with three years of NSIC experience. Megan Derouard (Sr, SS, Kenora, Ontario), Amy Burke (So, OF, Crookston, Minn.) and Kelsey Van Ackeren (So, P, St. Cloud, Minn.) enter this season with one year of Division II experience.
Newcomers looking to earn a starting spot on this year’s squad are: Kayla Bowar (Fr, IF, Moorhead, Minn.), Sarena Diederichs (Fr, C, St. Cloud, Minn.), Steph Thomas (Fr, P, St. Albert, Alberta), Amanda Adkins (Fr, 3B, Detroit Lakes, Minn.), Katie Bowar (Fr, 1B, Moorhead, Minn.), Mallory Watson (Fr, C, Calgary, Alberta) and Katie Manning (Fr, IF, Wrenshall, Minn.).
“This weekend will be a mix of lineups and positions for the players. I want to start the team out on the right foot and get some success under our belts, but I also want to prepare to put the best team on the field when we start conference play,” says Head Coach Mitch Bakken. “This weekend will be a good test to see where the starting lineup will go from here. We have had great competition at all positions this fall and winter. It makes my job a little more difficult when filling out the lineup but it is definitely a good problem to have.”
Following Sunday’s games, the Golden Eagles return to the field on March 15-18 when UMC travels to Vermillion, S.D. for the Dakota State Tournament at the Dakota Dome. Minnesota, Crookston plays Minnesota, Morris on the 15th and Dakota Wesleyan on the 16th. First pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. and noon respectively. The team then travels to Rosemount, Minn. to play Crown College in the Rosemount Dome. The double-header is set for a 10:00 a.m. start. The team opens NSIC play on April 5 against Upper Iowa University at the Wayne State Crossover in Wayne, Neb. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
Coach Bakken is assisted by returning Coach Birman Jenkins and first year assistant coach Brock Hanson.
For more information, visit the Golden Eagle Athletics website at www.goldeneaglesports.com.
The University of Minnesota, Crookston is a NCAA Division II Institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). Golden Eagle Hockey is a member of the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA). The Golden Eagle Equestrian team is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).