Cater, Hayward and Lahners Playing In South Africa
Dec. 5, 2011
SEATTLE - If you build it, they will come. This classic line from the film Field of Dreams doesn't just apply corn fields in Iowa, but as the website for the International Softball Federation (ISF) Junior Women's World Championships suggests, it can work in South Africa too. In preparation for the 2011 JWWC, extensive renovation has been done at the Turhall Softball Complex in Cape Town as this field of dreams is getting ready to host sixteen of the world's top junior national teams beginning December 7.
In this field of sixteen teams are three Huskies: two current players, Victoria Hayward and Kylee Lahners, and one future Husky, Jocelyn Cater. All of the players in this tournament are focused on bringing home the gold and making their home country proud, but for these three players there is an added element. They not only have to face some of the world's top competition on teams like Japan and Australia, but they will have to play against fellow members of the UW softball family.
Victoria Hayward, a sophomore at UW who was born in Toronto, Ontario, at 19 years old is a veteran of both the junior and senior Canadian national teams. In the summer of 2009, the 17 year old outfielder joined former Husky greats Danielle Lawrie and Jenn Salling on the Canadian national team, becoming the youngest player ever named to the team. And now, as she will soon reach the age of 20 and will no longer be eligible for the junior team, this tournament is her chance to go out in style.
Joining her on the Canadian 19 and under team is Jocelyn Cater, a promising left-handed pitcher from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, who recently signed her letter of intent and will join the Husky softball program in 2013. But the fourth ranked Canadian team will have its hands full when it faces the defending champions, the top ranked American squad that features another Husky, Kylee Lahners, a freshman infielder from Laguna Hills, California. Lahners was a member of the 2010 US Junior National Team as well, helping the Americans win gold at the 2010 Pan-American Games.
This tournament is split into two pools of eight teams each, pitting the Americans and their neighbors to the north together in Pool A. This means that the Huskies will be playing each other at least once, with their first showdown scheduled for December 8 in the pool stage.
When Team USA plays Canada in any competition the (usually) friendly rivalry heats up, and this will be especially true for Hayward, Cater and Lahners. Not that one needs much extra motivation when playing in an elite international tournament, but there is no doubt that these players, especially the two current Huskies, will want to win and earn bragging rights to last far into the future. While the athletes make their final preparations for the tournament, you can explore the website that the ISF has set up for the Junior Women's World Championships. There you'll find a gallery of pictures taken of the stadium under renovation, information on the teams involved, and a countdown to the start of the tournament, promotional videos and much more. There's even a friendly mascot, a blue softball-playing bunny named Sonke!
With a great field of teams, Husky-related international subplots and renovated facilities, not to mention Sonke, the ISF Junior Women's World Championships will be well worth following. You can get all of your information on the tournament and stay up to date on the events as they happen on the Tournament Website.