Duluth, Minn. -- While sports slowly return to normal, a group of future UMD Bulldogs were putting the work in down in Florida.
Esko-native Dea DeLeon and Cloquet-native Kiana Bender joined a trio of other Bulldog-commits for a tournament down in Florida for a USSSA National tournament. The girls team competed against a pool of 21 other teams, going 2-4 overall. However, the goal was just to get back on the field, and as a bonus, play with one another for the first time before playing at UMD next year.
"Every little pitch, out teaches us something that we didn't know before. Every single play is going to help for next year. It was nice that we had the opportunity to get started before anyone else," said DeLeon.
"I just think seeing better competition is just gonna get us ready for college next year. We know it's gonna be really good competition so seeing it is just going to get us ready for next year," said Bender.
"It was awesome to get back on the field… it was so fun… playing with everyone especially since I know I'm going to be playing with everyone. I just thought it was a great experience."
DeLeon, Bender, Kelly Swank, Julia Gronholz and Katelyn Mohr are five of ten total in the 2020-21 Bulldog recruiting class, the largest recruiting class for UMD softball ever.