Holy Rosary High School Raider Emma Stephens has committed to play for the University of Calgary Dinos fastball team this fall. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
Holy Rosary High School Raider Emma Stephens hit a home run during the Easter break.
Stephens, 17, signed a Western Collegiate Softball Association letter of intent to play with the University of Calgary Dinos fastball program last Thursday.
The Grade 12 student will begin studying toward a Bachelor of Engineering degree at the university this fall.
“It’s basically just saying that you’re committed to playing with that team for the next academic year,” said Stephens, who was accepted into the Engineering program this past January.
“What happened for me was I went and I practiced with the U of C team a couple of times over the winter and the coaches decided to offer me a letter of intent basically saying we have a spot on our team if you come and play for us.”
Stephens said her family and the Dinos fastball team’s coaching staff began talking shortly after she competed with the Lloydminster Liners in the U18 Women’s Canadian Nationals Fast Pitch Championships at Legion Park last summer.
She said the chance to now commit to the Dinos is wonderful, but her main focus will still remain in the classroom.
“I have a sense of, in 10 years from now, what’s going to matter is the education I got and not necessarily whether I played on the ball team,” she said. “Of course, it’s (going to be) a fantastic experience and I’m super-duper excited, but I know my education has to come first.”
The opportunity to play college ball was a decade in the making for Stephens. She first picked up a bat and glove for tee-ball at the age of six or seven, started to play competitive softball with the U12 Blues and steadily advanced to last season with the Liners.
The pitcher and outfielder is suiting up with the Sherwood Park Storm this summer. Stephens has been practicing with the club all winter and accompanied the team to a tournament in Kennewick, Wash., this past weekend.
“We went down for a tournament just to get the season started and get used to playing with each other because it’s kind of a newer team,” she said.
“We went 2-2 overall and I think for our first couple of games we played pretty well, so I was happy with it.”
Stephens said the Dinos coaching staff got her in contact with a few other engineering students who also went through the U of C athletics program to make sure she knew what committing to life as a student-athlete would be like. She said it won’t be easy, but she’s confident that she’ll be able to make it work.
“I think I’ve made a good decision for myself,” said Stephens. “I get to be able to continue what I want to do even though (I’ll be) away from home. So, I’m excited for that.”