After their first-ever Great West Conference Championship, Utah Valley University’s women softball team continues to be recognized.
Coach Todd Fairbourne and two of his players, Amanda Robinson and Tiffany Mills, have been recognized this season for their outstanding achievements in the tournament.
Amanda Robinson was named GWC Player of the Year and pitcher Tiffany Mills earned Newcomer of the Year after the GWC announced its 2012 All-Conference softball team. Fairbourne was also named GWC Coach of the Year for the second time after leading the Wolverines the championship victory.
“I felt really humbled,” Robinson said. “It’s nice to get an award that I know I didn’t (earn on my own), but my team helped me do it too.”
Robinson’s performance this season included breaking her first school record with 13 home runs in a single season. It doesn’t stop with home runs though. She led the conference with 40 RBI’s, three triples and 34 runs scored.
“[Amanda] had a phenomenal weekend,” Fairbourne said. “She embodies what I want in this program. There are also several girls on this team that I consider fierce competitors.”
Along with Robinson’s record-breaking season, teammate and pitcher Tiffany Mills was recognized for the GWC Newcomer of the Year.
“She’s one of the best fielding pitchers I’ve ever seen,” Fairbourne said. “She’s a fighter. She’s a competitor. When she stays around the plate she’s exceptionally good and gets a little wild.”
The success and achievements from these players could not have been done without the support and confidence from their coach. Fairbourne was awarded GWC Coach of the Year for the second time after winning it in 2010.
“You don’t win it unless your team wins,” Fairbourne said. “As proud as I may be, it wouldn’t happen without all these girls. It’s not a surprise that Amanda and Tiffany did what they did. They’re probably the biggest competitors on the team and you have to have that drive, it’s as simple as that.”
Fairbourne’s confidence and belief in the team had shown not only throughout the regular season but also during the GWC tournament. The Wolverines motivation may have started with Fairbourne from a simple text to the girls.
“I fully expect for us to win this tournament and if it’s not your expectations, make it so.”
“That was pretty much what I sent,” Fairbourne said.
Those simple words along with the hard work and dedication from the coach and players were shown through the performance of the team.
With only two graduating seniors leaving Utah Valley, the remaining team from last year will have more improvements and better expectations for the upcoming season.
“You don’t expect anything less, so to me, I expect more,” Robinson said. “We have to play at a certain level consistently and the girls all have to have the same drive and be on the same page and I think if that all comes out to play we will keep climbing the ladder.”
The confidence Fairbourne has in his team will motivate their capability to physically and fundamentally improve their skills. The overall achievements and accomplishments from the Wolverines will continue in future seasons to come.
“I believe this will be the best team we’ve ever had,” Fairbourne said.
By RACHEL ANDERSON