UWEC Softball: One Team, One Heartbeat

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"I didn't want to let my teammates down and i felt very scared honestly," says freshman Gracia Larson.

It's a September night, a crisp chill in the air, and freshman Blugold Gracia Larson is the first leader on judgement day. The mission from a Boston based company called the program is for the softball team to become a cohesive unit.

The team struggles throughout the night having to repeat tasks over and over until each command is done correctly, until each player looks at their teammate not as a sister but as a fellow warrior, and until each one understands they can only do it as one.

At 4am the Blugold softball team is back at it, this time at the pool. The same message is still present, each player must hold the other accountable.

"Not just get through it and not drown but it's to attack it," says junior Emily Ruegemer, "and try to beat our times and do it as a team because no one can hide here."

"That it's more about accomplishing the mission and taking care of their teammates and not being worried about themselves first," adds head coach Leslie Huntington.

The Blugold softball team won a national title in 2008, now it's a fresh, new roster and Judgement Day is step one of their journey.

"What we did over the past two days has absolutely nothing to do with the teams talent but everything to do with their commitment to get that much better, so the accountability piece is part of that," says Jake MacDonald, a trainer for The Program. "Getting that much better is what allows us to compete for championships. Talent allows us to win games. But at the program and a school like this, we don't care about winning games we care about competing for championships."

So what was the verdict after judgement day?

"Even though I'm a freshman, I can't be scared to hold my other teammates accountable," says Larson. "When I know that I can help them out or I know that they're slacking, when I know they're not giving me a 100 percent as well.

"The biggest thing we learned had to be to step up before things go completely wrong," adds Ruegemer.

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