Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

PAPILLION, Neb. — Eight extra groups will take part when the second version of the NFCA Kaiti Williams Memorial Leadoff Traditional hosted by Papillion-LaVista South Excessive College takes place on Sept. 1-2 on the Papillion Touchdown Softball Advanced.

This 12 months’s occasion has expanded to 24 groups after a profitable reimagining of a match that had been held for 16 years earlier than being affiliated with the NFCA. It honors the reminiscence of Williams, who starred at Papillion-LaVista South Excessive and went on to a record-setting profession at Division II Wayne State Faculty earlier than dying unexpectedly as a result of an irregular heartbeat in 2015 at simply 22 years previous.

Cash raised on the match will profit the Kaiti Williams Memorial Scholarship, which helps feminine graduates of Papillion-LaVista South Excessive pursue greater training and athletics on the collegiate stage.

“I’m very excited for the NFCA Kaiti Williams Memorial Leadoff Traditional,” Papillion-LaVista South Excessive head coach Tom Horton mentioned. “4 states (Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma)  might be represented on this 12 months’s match. We hope to make this a unbelievable highschool occasion and proceed to showcase the nice expertise we now have right here in Nebraska and all the states that play highschool fall softball.”

“(Defending champ) Gretna is returning and is ranked each in Nebraska and within the NFCA ballot. This ought to be a powerful and aggressive match once more this 12 months.”

The Titans and Millard North Excessive will as soon as once more host the match collectively. Groups will play two pool-play contests every on the primary day to find out the place they’ll compete on day two. The highest groups in every bracket would be the ones within the combine for the match championship, whereas the second-place groups will vie for silver-bracket honors, and third-place finishers will meet within the bronze bracket.

Becoming a member of Gretna, Papillion-LaVista South and 2022 runner-up Millard North on the occasion might be Blair, Blue Springs South (Mo.), Elkhorn South, Grand Island, Gretna East,  Helias Catholic (Mo.), Legend (Colo.), Liberty (Mo.), Lincoln Pius X, Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln Southeast, Lincoln Southwest, Millard South, Millard West, Omaha Burke, Omaha Westview, Papillion-LaVista, Rock Ridge (Mo.), Roncalli, Silo (Okla.) and Valor Christian (Colo.).

Horton, who confronted Williams when he was teaching at Bellevue East Excessive, remembers a fierce competitor.

“She was an incredible participant,” he mentioned. “Competed arduous in each sport we ever confronted her in.”

In truth, Williams was the primary Titan athlete to earn 12 varsity letters throughout her highschool profession, amassing 4 every in softball, basketball, and observe and subject. She earned educational all-state honors in all three sports activities, and captained all three squads her closing two seasons.

She was all-state in softball three seasons, was a starter on the primary Titan women basketball staff to succeed in the state match, and certified for states all 4 years as a thrower on the observe staff, incomes 5 medals and fourth-place finishes within the shot put and discus her senior 12 months. Williams carried a 3.95 grade-point common and was honored because the Runza/KPTM Scholar-Athlete of the 12 months for the state of Nebraska in 2010-11.

In faculty, Williams performed each sport for the Wildcats’ softball squad and earned all-conference honors all 4 years. She completed because the school-record holder in batting common, runs batted in, doubles and whole bases, and graduated with honors.

Williams was posthumously inducted into the Wayne State Athletic Corridor of Fame in 2018, and her No. 14 jersey is retired on the faculty.

Kaiti Williams, who starred in three sports activities at Papillion-LaVista South Excessive and earned 12 varsity letters, died in 2015 at simply 22 years previous as a result of an irregular heartbeat. (Picture courtesy of NFCA)

Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA is the skilled group for fastpitch softball coaches. Recognized for its highly-regarded coaches polls and All-America awards, the NFCA additionally educates and helps softball coaches on a wide range of totally different ranges: from podcasts to awards, to in-person occasions and Nationwide Conference. 

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