Talented athletes to state tourney
When the McCook Bison softball team takes the field Thursday in the state Class B tournament, hundreds of people in the McCook community will share in their success.
Because -- to build a team of this quality -- it took many years and many people, working together. For most of the girls, the journey started during their grade school years as participants in the YMCA softball program. Then, as the girls mastered the fundamentals of the sport, they moved on to advanced programs, traveling to other towns for competition with the Untouchables, the Rebels and other summer teams.
Along the way, the girls received lots of support, with coaches spending many evenings and weekends in practice and play, while parents supplied the cars and vans and countless hours of driving time.
Now -- for the seniors and key underclass performers -- comes the culmination of all those years of cooperation and effort: The State Tournament.
It is a fitting conclusion to another outstanding season. Against some of the top teams in the state, the Bison have compiled a 29 win, 1 loss season, including an undefeated race to the district championship.
At state, the Bison will open play against the tough, tenacious Lexington team which challenged McCook in the districts before falling 2-1.
The first round state tournament game between the Bison and Minutemaids will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Seymour Smith Complex, located at 66th and Harrison in Omaha. The winner of the game will advance to play the winner of the Beatrice and Blair contest, while the loser will play the team defeated in the Beatrice-Blair contest.
Teams in the other bracket are Lincoln Pius X, the number one seeded team, along with Aurora, Ralston and Elkhorn. Overall, Coach Dale Lortz says, "This is a very strong Class B field this year with seven solid teams in it." The coach goes on to say, " With our experience at the state tournament the last four years, I like our chances of doing well."
The Bison are both talented and experienced, with eight seniors on the team. But, what sets them apart, in the view of Coach Lortz, is their teamwork. "They are unselfish, they do what it takes to succeed."
Since girls softball was established as a sanctioned sport in the 1990s, the McCook Bison have been one of the leading programs in the state. That continues at peak levels in 2003, as shown by the girls' 29-1 record and fourth straight state tournament appearance.
Go get 'em, Bison! The town's behind you all the way!