SEATTLE – For the Washington Huskies softball team, competition is a cornerstone of everything they do.
The fierce drive to compete – against their opponents, their teammates, and their own best efforts – is apparent in games, practices, and workouts. That mindset of competing, instilled by head coach Heather Tarr, has propelled the Huskies to 20 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, three appearances at the Women’s College World Series in the last six years, highlighted by the 2009 national championship.
It only seems natural that competition will be the foundation of purple-and-gold week, beginning Oct. 21, as the Huskies wind down fall practice.
“Competing to us means we are in the moment, we know the rules of the game, and we’re trying to win,” Tarr said. “Competition is big time for us. It forces us to make it matter, make it game-like, and put us in the moment for what we are trying to achieve.”
Purple-and-gold week will be filled with team-building contests and workouts throughout the week. The team that wins the most contests will begin with a run on the board in the final event of the week, an intersquad scrimmage on Oct. 24. The scrimmage will begin at 4:00 p.m. at Husky Softball Stadium and is open to the public.
The Huskies will be divided into two teams throughout the week for the intersqaud competitions.
The purple team, coached by assistant coach Lance Glasoe, will be led by team captain senior Bryana Walker, with Victoria Hayward, Hooch Fagaly, Courtney Gano, Kylee Lahners, Hailey Bator, Ali Aguilar, Kimberlee Myers, and Rylleigh Zbaraschuk.
“Purple-and-gold week is so much fun because we get to compete against each other,” Walker said. “It breaks up the monotony of the fall by providing competition and everything just becomes more intense.”
The gold team, coached by assistant coach Brad Ditter, will be led by team captain senior Whitney Jones, with Kaitlin Inglesby, Marki Creger-Zier, Kimberlee Souza, Kasey Stanchek, Kelli Suguro, Makenzie Pletcher, Jennie McNeill, Dani Braun, and Bridget Raftery.
“What makes purple and gold week so awesome is the daily competition. Anytime we are on the field we are competing,” Jones said “It's all about being a team and using everyone's strengths to compete and win. Each day brings on a different challenge that certain people on our team will do better than others.”
Since Tarr first made purple-and-gold week the culminating event of the Huskies fall practices in 2007, the week has served to foster camaraderie and teamwork, as the team prepares for the spring season.
“It’s become something that our student-athletes look forward to,” Tarr said. “It gives a competitive edge to the fall season. It definitely finishes it out.”