Abbotsford athletes Taylor Lundrigan and Callum Pilgrim have been selected to play on the 2015 Canadian junior women’s national team (WNT) for softball.
Following a series of regional I.D. camps held in Cloverdale, Saskatoon, and Brampton, Ont., Lundrigan and Pilgrim were two of 17 named to the roster.
Lundrigan, a Yale Secondary graduate and member of Simon Fraser University’s softball squad, said there were about 60 girls competing for a spot at the B.C. camp alone. From the three camps the numbers were whittled down to 28 for final selections.
“I’m just so excited to be wearing the maple leaf,” Lundrigan said.
She typically plays second base and shortstop though said she isn’t certain where she will be slotting into the current team — at the time she spoke with The News, the girls had just been together for a few days.
Lundrigan won a silver medal with the White Rock Renegades at the 2013 Canadian Midget Championship and a national championship in 2012 with the Delta Heat ‘96. She was also a member of the Team BC squad that won gold at the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games.
SFU coach, Mike Renney, describes Lundrigan as an all-around athlete.
Because her season with SFU ended at the start of April, Lundrigan said she did a lot of running and trained with a few other girls in preparation for the camp last month.
Pilgrim, on the other hand, took a different approach.
“I didn’t want to do too much and burn out,” said Pilgrim, adding, “This is so surreal. I’m really excited and honoured to be wearing a Canadian jersey with 16 other girls.”
The 18-year-old W.J. Mouat graduate recently accepted a scholarship to Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky. The softball program there is competitive, falling just short of a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics title last season, losing in the World Series championship to Auburn Montgomery.
Pilgrim, whose primary position is centrefield, said the team is gelling quite well despite just coming together last week – something made easier given nine of the girls who made it on the squad reside in B.C.
“We play against each other so we’re already semi-familiar,” said Pilgrim.
The national team trains extensively, a regimen which includes classroom sessions for mental training.
According to Softball Canada, “athletes are expected to spend a minimum of 23 hours each week training in all areas of the game.”
This is in addition to the time already spent in competition.
In the area of general fitness, the minimum standards are demanding. Players must, for instance, be able to achieve 30 crunches in a minute, 25 push ups in a minute and be capable of planking for two-and-a-half minutes, to name just a few requirements.
Head coach Melissa Basilio said she and the coaching staff were “extremely pleased” with this year’s final selections.
“We have a well-rounded group of athletes and look forward to working with them over the next few weeks.”
Based on 2013 ISF World Championship Standings, the Canadian junior women’s national team is ranked fifth.
The squad tasted its first action at the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship in Surrey, in the Futures Gold division, which began Monday and will run to July 12.
So far the Canadian junior national team is undefeated, sitting 2-0 with fourteen runs scored in total, and one run against. They coasted past the Fraser Valley Fusion 97 9-0 in their opening match July 7 and beat the Surrey Storm 98, 5-1, the following day.
All this is in preparation for the WBSC XI Junior Women’s Softball Championship in Oklahoma City from August 9 to 15. The tournament is held every two years for age 19-and-under national squads.