For Taylor Lundrigan and Katherine Murnaghan, there’s a two-pronged appeal to playing softball for Simon Fraser University.
“It’s the only NCAA program in Canada,” explained Lundrigan, alluding to the fact that the Burnaby institution’s sports teams have been playing in the NCAA Div. II Great Northwest Athletic Conference since 2010.
“And I’m a homebody. I like my parents, and I’ll get home-cooked meals any time I can get down here (to Abbotsford).”
Lundrigan and Murnaghan, Grade 12 classmates at Yale Secondary and teammates in the school’s softball academy, both recently signed their letters of intent to join the SFU softball squad.
Murnaghan, a catcher/shortstop who stands six feet tall, can hit for power and boasts a strong throwing arm. She’s also an ambitious student who carries a 95 per cent average and hopes to become a doctor one day.
“SFU is rated really high for academics, and that was appealing,” she noted.
Lundrigan, an athletic shortstop who has suited up for B.C. rep squads on a number of occasions, is also a terrific basketball player who would have had post-secondary options in that sport if she’d sought them. But she’s a softball player first and foremost.
“Softball, I’ve always loved it since I was little,” she said. “I love being outdoors and in the sun. It’s a different sport than basketball – basketball is more of a quick pace and you’re always running, and softball you’re thinking all the time.”
Jen Schreyer, one of the coaches in the Yale academy, is an SFU alum, and she believes her alma mater will be a great home for Lundrigan and Murnaghan.
“They’ll be playing for (SFU head coach) Mike Renney, who used to be the Team Canada (national women’s) coach and has been there for numerous years,” Schreyer said. “He has a pretty tough reputation, so I’m sure these girls are going to be working pretty hard.
“They’re both hard-working girls, and they both set goals for themselves back in Grade 9 that they wanted to get softball scholarships. And they worked their butts off to do that, both academically and athletically.”