A decision on the other side of the state has a lot of Cody girls excited for the future.
The Albany County School District voted unanimously Wednesday to approve softball at Laramie High School. With that vote, the required Wyoming High School Activities Association minimum eight high schools have now expressed a desire to add varsity softball.
With WHSAA approval, work now begins to establish a varsity softball season for the 2021 season.
Last October athletes, parents and coaches from Cody Pride softball and other youth teams pushed Cody to be one of the first districts to approve adding the sport.
At that point only the two Gillette high schools had signaled support for softball, but local players were the first to go to the district to ask.
“Pride was the front runner in making this happen,” program president Keith Ungrund said. “They were the first to approach the school board and they worked with all the districts around the state to provide information and walking them through the steps needed to approach (the) school board and provide budget data, Title IX info and data and logistical data.”
It had a snowball effect and seven high schools had officially supported the policy by early April when Natrona County School Board voted to approve it.
The delay in Laramie approving softball – board members said they needed to examine the matter further when approached last school year – prevented the sport from starting in 2020.
Still, the clock is now ticking to have everything together for 2021.
Ungrund said the WHSAA will begin working on certifications for umpires. They also will begin working with school district activity directors on scheduling and certifying coaches.
“School districts will need to account for adding softball in their high school budgets for next year,” Ungrund added.
Some boards, including Cody, still have to officially approve adding the sport.
Money was a major cause of concern for Cody trustees before the vote.
Superintendent Ray Schulte said at the time it would likely cost $40,000-50,000.
Still, the measure passed unanimously following 15 people, mostly softball players, speaking in support.
The words of a star Cody softball player who had missed the opportunity to play varsity made one of the biggest impact at the fall meeting.
Coach Ron Brasher read a letter from his niece Bri Brasher, a former star in Cody Pride softball as well as a Cody High School and University of Wyoming graduate.
“My fire to have softball sanctioned in Wyoming is still burning strong,” she wrote. “I’m so proud of the Cody Pride family and their resilience. Make this opportunity available to those that still have available the time to play.”