It’s been a busy few days for the Galveston College Whitecaps softball team in preparation for the 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Championship, which begins today in St. George, Utah.
The Whitecaps won last week’s Region XIV tournament to advance to nationals, along with first runner-up Tyler Junior College. This is Galveston’s first appearance in the championship tournament since 2002.
The Whitecaps are among the top 16 junior college teams in the nation, an impressive group that includes last year’s champion, Chipola College of Florida, and two-time back-to-back champion, Butler Community College of Kansas.
After a travel day on Sunday and a busy day of practice on Monday, Whitecaps players volunteered at a skills clinic for youth softball players on Monday evening, where the kids rotated through pitching, hitting, fielding and other workshops. Coach Ken Delcambre and Coach Christa Harnett have instilled a great service ethic in the Whitecaps program, and the players were great mentors to the youth ball players.
On Tuesday, there was a team photo session and practice. The Whitecaps look great and are getting used to the lush green fields of the Canyons Softball Complex, which has been awarded the coveted quotation of “Complex of the Year” by the National Softball Association for the last eight years.
On Tuesday afternoon, the team went to Snow Canyons State Park for some more exercise. They spent some time climbing and hiking the impressive Navajo sandstone formations, which are featured in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Coach Delcambre is healing nicely from last week’s injury during the NJCAA Region XIV final game, and he’s been amazing on and off the field. (In fact, he just about climbed one of those Utah mountains!) Coach Harnett is an organizational genius, making sure the team is where they need to be, when they need to be there! Great coaches and great student-athletes equal a great team!
On Tuesday night, the team attended an awards banquet, where they met their host family, a sweet couple from St. George. During the Whitecaps introduction by the announcer, the ladies cheered GC Hey!, which was met with a lot of laughter by the audience! Great team spirit!
Guest speaker at the banquet was Team USA softball player Michell Moultrie, who encouraged the student-athletes to pursue their passion and to never give up.
Following the banquet, each team member exchanged a Galveston College T-shirt for a T-shirt from a student-athlete from another team. There was a lot of networking and laughter. Great team spirit!
The Whitecaps’ first-round game is tonight against the Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters (22-4). It’s set to begin at 8:30 p.m. CST.