For Westby Area High School’s softball coach Morgan Stenslien, every girl returning this season is a top returner.
“It has to be that way,” Stenslien said. “We can’t have a team if they chose not to play! Each one of the returners knows fastpitch in the Coulee Conference is competitive and any given night the game can go either way. This year we look to compete with continuous effort and energy.”
Among the returners are Kay Frydenlund, second team all-conference, Molly Stenslien, second team all-conference, and McKenna Manske, honorable mention all-conference. All of the returners were part of an overall 8-8 record (6-6 conference).
Westby’s key graduates were Lauren Berg, Kenzie VonRuden and Jada Berra.
Stenslien said she and the coaching staff — Randi Smalley, varsity assistant, and Arena Kvammel, JV – “will work to keep the focus, day-in and day-out, on us. We are the most important aspect of our game. It’s a long season. Our goal it continue to improve each time we step on the field. One ladder rung at a time.” Stenslien has been head coach for 14 years.
What does Stenslien see as the team’s strengths this season?
“We have a group of athletes that have been raised playing multiple positions,” she said. “We are nimble. We are able to combat injuries because of their commitment to our philosophy of diversity.”
Experience at the varsity level and speed of play are weaknesses, Stenslien said, but the team will overcome them with hard work.
Early in the season, Stenslien is advising the team to “control the controllables, play the game one pitch at a time, keep it real, and work to be patient.”
Stenslien doesn’t have top contenders in mind for the conference title. “The Coulee is tough across the board… no one can underestimate their opponent.”