Softball is one of America's most popular sports for girls, and for girls in Wyoming, it can be frustrating to be one of only two states to not have softball sanctioned by their schools.
"For probably eight year that I've been playing.. For the first eight we were just trying to go in all the time trying to get it into the high schools and it just never got that far. And for me to see all these younger girls look up to me, especially me being a senior, it's really inspiring and I really want them to have the opportunity I never did," said Korlyn Sweeny, of the Wyo Pride softball club.
"You get told when you go out and do showcases and stuff that it's harder for you to get picked up, so you have to go out and reach out to colleges, and it's a lot harder than what it would be like if you just played high school ball," said Michaela Allen, with the Casper Cobras softball club.
"When you have it in high school, you're going to colleges that are watching these high school games. It makes that path, that road to college a little bit easier for some of them," said Head Coach of the Casper Cobras, Mike Allen.
These athletes are serious about their softball. Dozens of girls from four different Casper club teams showed up to voice their support of putting softball in their schools. We asked the activities association what that would take:
"We have to have eight schools that are willing to add the new sport or activity. We have to get a letter from their school board. We want it to come from the central office and not just an AD or the high school office so that we can make sure that they're going to financially back it as well. But yea, we would be more than happy to have softball if we have enough schools that want to do that," said WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird. "I would anticipate that we would do something similar with soccer, where we'd start with not as many games just to get a schedule going and see how that works, and then expand from there."
"The big part that they're looking at and getting the most push-back is budget," said Mike Allen.
While budget is an issue, Head Coach of the club team Casper Cobras, Mike Allen, says he's more than willing to do his part to make this happen:
"We've decided we're going to try and maybe get those uniforms for the kids. Maybe a set of NC and a set of Kelly Walsh and go in next fall representing those two schools, depending on how this thing turns out."
"There's going to take some time with this because we do have some certification issues we'd have to go through. All the coaches would have to be certified just like football, basketball, any of our sports. They'd have to go through that process and it would not be USA softball certification. It would have to be our professional teachers standard that certifies our coaches," said Laird.
To get this process rolling, it's now up to the school boards. Groups from all across the state are pushing for approval.
"In 2011 I was approached by some school athletic coaches at Natrona, and they said they would like to see girls fast-pitch in the school system in Wyoming. And so I took the initiative, and I made a formal proposal to both ADs at the time," said Kirk Nelson with the Casper Recreation Center. "And just water passed under the bridge and now there's a state wide movement again to see if we can create the interest to get it into the schools."
"Right now these girls love to play softball. They'd like to be able to letter in high school in softball. Just the other night was parents' night, and these girls will never experience that because a lot of them don't play anything besides softball," says Head Coach of the club team Capser Voltage.
"I adore this sport. It's amazing. And just being able to play at a school where I can play other teams around Wyoming and can show my teammates how we play and my teachers get to see the sport I love. I just think it'd be a really good experience to get girls to be able to play softball," said Lauren Henshaw of the Wyo Pride.
As of now, both Rock Springs and Cody have voted "yes" in favor of sanctioning softball. Casper and many other groups across the state are in the process of presenting their proposals to the school boards.