SOFTBALL: Lady Highlanders set big goals for their young team
THE WOODLANDS, Texas — A third consecutive trip to the state championships may seem like a lofty goal, but the Lady Highlanders know what it takes to get there.
We know what to expect, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard because we know that we can do it.
See what the team’s five varsity returners have to say about their vision for the season.
After nearly six years of having well-seasoned softball athletes, The Woodlands is grooming a group of young players to become state tournament material with the help of five returners. Leah Starkweather, who recently signed to play at Concordia University, said the team’s previous trips to the state championships have taught her the potential that they Lady Highlanders have, despite the undesired outcome.
“I think when you know where you’ve been you know where you can go,” Starkweather said. “We know what to expect, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard because we know that we can do it, and we know that we’ve been there.”
Having the experience of playing at the state tournament along side her sister, pitcher Emily Langkamp has been able to follow the lead of talented athletes, equipping her with the ability to support her younger teammates. Inspired by their deep run into the playoffs, Langkamp is excited to step up and reveal to the new varsity athletes their true potential.
“That experience helps us because we know what it takes to get there, and it takes a lot of hard work,” Langkamp said. “We get to show all the younger people what it’s like, and we have something to work for in knowing what our ultimate goal is.”
Head coach Richard Jorgensen knows that with only three returning starters to the varsity level, leadership development is crucial to reaching their season’s goals. Jorgensen said winning state may be a tall order for the Lady Highlanders, but they practice to achieve that goal. He said the young team has a lot of work to do and a long way to go, but he knows they’re able.
“They really haven’t had to step up into that role because we’ve had such a strong upperclass group the last four or five years,” Jorgensen said. “For the first time, not only do they have to be great players, but we’re asking them to be leaders also.”