Lady Rattlers begin quest for championship

Falling to Bethune-Cookman University in the MEAC Championship to end last season left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Lady Rattlers’ softball players. FAMU finished slightly under .500 and ended last season with a 28-29 record.

However, head coach Veronica Wiggins is expecting an immediate turnaround this season.

“I feel like we did a lot of growing up this year,” Wiggins said. “This team is seasoned and mature. Their focus is exactly where I want it to be.”

The coaching staff is looking forward to a productive season from senior pitcher Jennifer Lindsey, a physical education student from Jacksonville. The staff is also looking for Kieifi Myrick, a sophomore third baseman from Crawfordville, and Alyssa Weaver, a sophomore shortstop from Oldsmar, to play bigger roles this season.

Wiggins and assistant coach Lori Goodart both said the Lady Rattlers are ready for the start of the season. Wiggins said the team has a decent non-conference schedule against quality opponents that will adequately prepare the team for MEAC play.

Goodart said the Lady Rattlers are “gunning” for every team in the MEAC.

“We have a set of team goals that we want to accomplish this year,” she said. “And hopefully it leads to a MEAC Championship.”

Ashanti Shepherd, a senior right fielder and team captain from Winter Haven, has big plans for the team on and off the diamond. Shepherd, who has a 4.0 GPA, wants her team to maintain a combined GPA of at least 3.0. And on the field, she is excited and believes the Lady Rattlers have a good balance of experienced and freshmen players.

“Without a doubt, I feel this team can go all the way,” Shepherd said. “We want to put FAMU softball on the map and make history at the (Women’s) College World Series.”

The Lady Rattlers will play Florida State University in the Panhandle Invitational to open the season Friday at 6 p.m. Due to field conditions, FAMU will play its first two home games, on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21, at FSU.