Wyoming High School Activities Association Adds Softball to Spring 2021 Roster
In a unanimous vote yesterday, the Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) approved softball to be added to the high school sports spring roster beginning in 2021. As of today, 11 schools statewide, including Campbell County and Thunder Basin high schools, have committed to the program, according to WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird.
“The [softball] girls are super excited. This is something they have dreamt of,” Gillette Girls Fastpitch President and 18u Head Coach Jim West said. “All but a few of our girls will get to play in the first season. To be able to letter and wear letterman jackets in support of their school is important to the girls.”
As of the 2021 season, Wyoming high school girls will have a total of three spring athletic programs to choose from, including soccer, softball, and track. Laird noted that he is excited for an additional girls’ sports activity, and he hopes that opening the opportunity to participate in softball will reach girls who are not already playing one of the other spring sports.
Wicked 307 Fastpitch 16U Coach Owen Kimberling was equally enthusiastic about the addition of the new program.
“This is step one in the process,” he said. “It’s going to be a few years to get the girls’ softball numbers up.”
The biggest hurdle right now Kimberling noted is getting the younger-aged girls to come out and learn the sport.
He also said that he hopes junior high students will one day get the same opportunity as the high school girls are now going to be given, so they can feed into the high school programs.
West spoke to the Campbell County School Board and the high school athletic directors being instrumental in making this happen, especially Cliff Hill. He noted that the city had been advocating for a statewide girls’ softball program for years before he became involved with Gillette-area softball in 2005.
The 11 schools committed are CCHS, TBHS, Kelly Walsh and Natrona County in Casper, East, Central, and South high schools in Cheyenne, in addition to Cody, Green River, Rock Springs, and Laramie.
The inaugural season will have 22 games with the first state tournament being held in Gillette in May 2021.
Prior to yesterday’s approval, Wyoming was one of only two states, with the other state being South Dakota, that did not recognize softball as a high school sport.
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