North Texas Softball Starts Back With First Day Of Practice
Mean Green Open 2016 Season On Feb. 12 In Arizona
DENTON — After a fall and winter of weights, conditioning, skills work and team practice, the North Texas softball team turned its attention to the start of the 2016 season with their first practice of the spring Wednesday.
Coming off a 19-31 season in 2015, head coach Tracey Kee enters her third season at the helm with four returners, eight freshmen and three transfers. The 15-member roster includes three pitchers — freshman Lauren Craine, junior Jessica Elder and junior Stacey Underwood — and 12 position players.
“We were very excited to get back together as a group,” Kee said. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather today. We understand that we caught a break with that, especially this time of year. When you evaluate our first day, so much of it is just knocking the rust off and get as many reps as we can defensively and offensively and give them time to get their timing and focus back. It wasn’t a bad start. Tomorrow and every day, we have to get a little better and move forward.”
The Mean Green kick off the spring with six straight days of practice and fitness tests, including four days of two-a-day practices, before their first off day, which also coincides with the start of spring semester classes on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
“I have never had to bring a team back early, but with the start of our classes being so late, we felt like we needed to do this year,” Kee said. “It’s going to give us a nice head start in being able to just focus on softball before classes start. We’ll maximize this good weather as long as we possibly can. Once classes start, we’ll settle into a routine. We want to be smart, we want to push hard, but we don’t want to overwork too early.”
Spring practice will continue for four weeks, before North Texas opens the 2016 season on Friday, Feb. 12, when they play host Arizona in the first of five games in three days at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Arizona. The Mean Green will host the North Texas Invitational for its first home games of the season, which begins with a matchup against Sam Houston State on Saturday, Feb. 27.