Brandon’s Taylor Ursel, left, and Morgan Glowa will go to Dickinson State. (MATT GOERZEN/BRANDON SUN)
Morgan Glowa and Taylor Ursel have been really close friends since they were in Grade 5.
The Brandonites grew up playing on the same minor hockey and Westman Magic softball teams. Both are graduating from high school in June — Glowa from Vincent Massey and Ursel from Crocus Plains —but even starting a new life can’t separate them. Glowa and Ursel both agreed to play softball on scholarship for the Dickinson State University Blue Hawks, who compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
"Going to a new place and starting a whole new chapter of your life is tough by yourself," said Ursel, a 5-foot-10 catcher who also plays first base. "I heard of a lot of people who have gone down to the States and find it hard to adjust. With Morgan coming with me, we’ll be able to adjust together and go through schooling and homework together."
Glowa and Ursel are the second and third members of the Magic to commit to an American college. Killarney’s Cejay Hilhorst has agreed to play for North Dakota’s Valley City State University Vikings.
The two Brandonites, however, weren’t interested in joining their teammate in Valley City, N.D. Instead, they were thinking about attending Dickinson State to follow in the footsteps of their role model Ashley Neufeld, who played softball there before she tragically passed away in an accident in November of 2009.
The girls’ campus tour earlier this year completely solidified their decision.
"As soon as we went down there, we got to practice with the team and it just felt like a family," said Glowa, a 5-foot-3 centre fielder who occasionally plays second base. "They just welcomed us in there and the coaches were amazing people. Right when we met the team, I knew this was the place we were going."
Ursel and Glowa’s scholarships cover 53 per cent of their tuition.
The girls are excited about committing to play for Dickinson State, but they know they have a lot of work to do this summer. They felt small on the diamond during their practice and they want to put on a little muscle and continue to excel at softball with the Magic this summer.
Bev Neufeld, who has coached the pair through the Magic program for the last three years, is confident they’ll fit right in with the Blue Hawks.
"As a coach it’s nice to see them come together and get physically stronger and understand the game and the strategies of the game (in the last three years)," she said. "Their skill level is very adequate to play at that level."
Regardless of how nervous they are about going to university and joining a new team, Glowa and Ursel are happy they won’t have to look far for support. The two are taking the same classes, the same nursing program and will live together in the same dormitory.
"It calms my nerves a little bit, leaving home especially," Ursel said. "Having one of your best friends from all your life is a huge thing. It’s like taking family with you."
"As much as we’ll miss our family, we’ll have each other," added Glowa. "Obviously we want to get close with all the other girls and stuff, but it will be nice to go back to our dorm. We know each other and can relax with each other and just hang out and not be stressed."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 5, 2012