Over the past four years, the University of Utah softball seniors have learned how quickly time flies. They have learned many lessons on the diamond while at Utah, but they have come to realize that it is their impact on the team that matters more than the results of a game or a season. Bella Secaira hopes that the younger players find that out so they can make their mark on the team before their college softball experience is over.
“It’s just about enjoying the ride and knowing that your time is going to come to an end soon,” Secaira said. “You want to be able to enjoy it and not be sad about your playing time or upset about your performance. It has gone by way too fast, but I am so grateful for it because coming to Utah was one of the best decisions of my life.”
With their regular season wrapping up, the senior Utes can’t help but look back on their time with the team and reminisce about the roller coaster ride that they have been on that has made their journey unforgettable. For Kay Kay Fronda, it was the opportunities that she was given and the chance to be surrounded by a supportive and loving group of people that allowed her to enjoy her time at Utah. For Anissa Urtez, it was the bonds that were created between the players that gave her a new appreciation for everything she had while on the team. For Sammy Cordova though, her roller coaster ride involved the team’s overall progression.
“Mostly it has been cool to see the program from my freshman year grow each year,” Cordova said. “We kind of relate it to climbing a ladder. Each year, we take a step on the ladder, and hopefully we take an extra step this year.”
Hannah Flippen said it has been a “journey of a lifetime.” These have been the best four years of Flippen’s life, and she is happy that she got to experience it at Utah with all the girls she has played with.
“This senior class, we grew together,” Flippen said. “The bond that our senior class has, I don’t think anyone else has. We all played a lot all four years, and we are great friends on and off the field.”
Coming together as a family and making connections with teammates was something Fronda appreciated being able to do at Utah. That was also important to Delilah Pacheco who was forced to do a lot of growing up after moving away from her home in Texas to come to Utah.
“Coming from my junior college to here was a big difference prep wise, practice wise and personality wise,” Pacheco said. “Just having to come to a team where everyone was already so close, it was a big adjustment, but they welcomed me really well. It has been a good change.”
One of the most memorable moments for some of the seniors was when the team swept UCLA on the Bruins’ home turf earlier this season. Other memories go all the way back to their freshmen year when they went sledding for the first time. Something else that stands out was when they won regionals and advanced to supers in 2016, and afterwards they jumped in a pool as part of tradition. Bridget Castro’s favorite memory was when the team pranked the new freshmen.
“It was a hangout thing, but we told them to dress up so they showed up in heels and nice dress, and we were in pants and tennis shoes,” Castro said. “It was really funny. Just from that moment, we knew we were going to have a fun year.”
Besides providing an entertaining atmosphere for the whole team, head coach Amy Hogue said that her senior girls took on leadership roles.
“Seeing them lead a group with some seriously high goals and heading right towards every one of those goals has been great,” Hogue said. “There are hardly any days where I need to take care of an issue or solve any type of problem. They take care of it, which means this group is led by the team, and those are the best teams to have.”