Rogers State Softball, the reigning NCAA Division II National Champions, were honored for their historic achievement with a championship ring ceremony at the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center on the campus of RSU on Thursday night.
The Hillcats brought home the first national championship in school history with a 6-1 victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills in May, capping off an incredible 58-10 season that also included a MIAA Tournament Championship.
“Being national champions takes everything about the program to another level – it raises our recruiting options, it raises the expectations, but that’s what we want – we want high expectations of our student athletes and the softball team,” said Dr. Chris Ratcliff, RSU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. “We want to compete at the highest level, and our softball team finished up as the best in the nation last year, so it doesn’t get any better than that. Even though the girls won (the national championship) back in May, we’re still extremely excited.”
In addition to finishing the season as the top team in Division II, Head Coach Andrea Vaughan and her staff were named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Coaching Staff of the Year.
“This (championship) was really a reflection of a vision that I’ve had since taking over the program,” Vaughan said. “The question I would always ask was ‘Why not Rogers State?’ Why can’t we win a national championship?’, and that was the vision that I sold many of the recruits on – the vision of us winning a national championship, and last season, that vision saw fruition.”
At the ceremony, the team was presented with rings commemorating both the National Championship win and the MIAA Tournament Championship win.