The University of Montana softball team has their inaugural season start this fall. Today, the coaching staff started week long tryouts for current UM students hoping to make the team, which meant there was plenty of nervousness on the field.
"I've got a lot of nerves, but I'm extremely excited, I want to show him what I can do and hopefully have a shot at making the team," says Big Sky high graduate and current UM Junior Kelsey Lucostic.
For as difficult as it may be, coach Pinkerton tries to keep the players as relaxed as possible in a normally pressure filled environment.
"We're not going to make judgments on one day, and I know there will be a sense of nerves. There's a sense of nervousness every year, whether they are returning a senior or an incoming freshman, so that's stuff we won't take into account, and we understand that's going to happen," says Griz head man Jamie Pinkerton.
With the new program not having a home-field yet…the tryouts are happening at Washington Grizzly Stadium. Certainly not typical of softball play, but not necessarily a bad thing either.
"We're pretty lucky I think to get to tryout outside instead of on a gym floor. The turf may be a little different, but it's a beautiful day and we have the weather for it," says Lucostic.
"It's got green grass, whether it's real or not. With the weather and what we'll be able to get accomplished, this is a perfect setting. We don't have to worry about the grass being perfect, or the dirt being perfect at this point, so being able to come into Washington Grizzly, and have the tryouts it's suitable enough," adds Pinkerton.
For Lucostic, who graduated from Big Sky several years ago, she's already seeing how excited treasure state prep players are about the potential to play for the hometown Griz.
"I've been helping with the Big Sky practices, just going in and helping run some drills with them, and it's all they talk about. They are so excited, hoping the coaches are looking at them. Having them local is huge too, because in Montana it's hard to get looked at by schools, with our winters and not being able to practice year round, so it will definitely be beneficial for Montana," says Lucostic.
While all the players trying out this week are currently UM students, many are from out of state, with Lucostic being the only Missoula native, giving her even more inspiration to make the team.
"Growing up, My family have been huge Griz fans, It's been a tradition to have love for the Griz, so to be able to play for them for the first Lady Griz softball team would be one of the coolest things ever," says Lucostic.