Spring sports look forward to preseason games, expansion and new strategy

January 24, 2017

Gabbie Matl

gmatl@uccs.edu

Baseball

     Men’s baseball will have their premier season this spring under head coach Dave Hajek, who has experience playing and coaching in the Major Leagues.

     The team will start their preseason games on Feb. 2-3 against Cal Poly in Pomona, Calif. The team’s first RMAC conference game will be on March 3 against Regis in Denver.

     With a large and varied lineup, the team has a lot of depth to draw on this year. Hajek is hoping to build a lot of strong leaders that will make a difference both on the team and in the community.

     “As we build this new program, we’re looking for a group of guys that are here to represent the university and represent our athletic program the right way on and off the field,” said Hajek.

Women’s Lacrosse

     Head coach Christine Hatton leads the brand new team in their first season at UCCS.

     The women’s lacrosse roster includes freshmen and juniors mostly from the Colorado area. Though they are young, the athletic department expects the new team to compete at a high level. Their first game will be on Feb. 25 against Adams State at the Mountain Lions Stadium.

Softball

     Softball returns for another season following their 21-23 record last year. The team, led by head coach Ricki Rothbauer, will play against Montana State Billings in St. George, Utah on Feb. 8.

     According to Rothbauer, there are three new freshmen on the team that are joining the returning players. Now that the team has adjusted to the coaching change from last year, they hope to have more of a defensive mindset by improving execution in their short game this season.

     “We (started) last season, and we had a pretty big roster. In terms of a recruiting class being very big, we really didn’t have that much of an opportunity to make a big change very fast,” said Rothbauer.

     The team worked over the winter to decrease their rate of strikeouts and have a more well-rounded offense with hits coming from the whole team. Instead of focusing on just power hitting, they are working on developing more singles and doubles coming from the whole line up with more movement on the bases to support it.

Track and Field

     Major changes are happening in the track and field program this year, chiefly in the expansion of full sprints, jumps and throws teams that added 43 new student athletes.

     Instead of focusing on just mid-to-long distance events, the team now has athletes competing in every category including Division II Invitational and Multi events. The track and field program also welcomed a new co-head coach, Ross Fellows.

     The team has started strongly with their indoor winter season and is already breaking program records.

     Preseason polls placed the teams at eighth and ninth place, but, according to Fellows, with the team’s new depth, their goal is to be one of the top five teams in the RMAC conference.