PJ Valois
Sports Reporter

The Humber women’s fastball team is traveling to Columbia, S.C. this reading week, but it’s going to be all business for the varsity squad.

The Hawks will head south Valentine’s Day after having spent almost the entire off-season preparing.

“We’ve been practicing pretty much every day, Monday through Friday and Sundays,” said second-year outfielder Jenna Clarke, a fitness and health student at Humber.

Primarily, the team practices in the gym at the North campus during the winter months, apart from their Friday practices at a facility in Brampton, she said.

The women’s fastball team has taken home back-to-back OCAA titles, but road trips like this one are a key factor in winning a third championship, said Clarke. The trip was paid for by fundraising done by the team during a tournament they hosted. Items given away in a raffle, like Raptors and Maple Leaf tickets, helped fund the trip according to Clarke.

Coach Duaine Bowles is looking forward to showcasing the high level of talent that Humber’s fastball team has to offer.

“I think when we go down there, we have a really good chance to shock some people,” said Bowles. “We want to send a message and we want people to want us to come back.”

The team puts in hard work and never quits, he added.

“If we go down there and we battle and we cut down on the mistakes, if we don’t make too many errors, I think we’ll be in a lot of games,” Bowles explained.

The team will be playing 10 games including five double-headers. The Hawks only get one day off which will be  “very good for team building,” said Clarke.

The Hawks will face off against teams from a number of different leagues, including U.S.-based National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Junior College, NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II.

According to Clarke, one “big game” will see The Hawks going head-to-head with an NCAA Division I team, North Carolina State, on Feb. 21.

Fastball will be the only thing on the schedule, according to manager of athletics and sports information at Humber, Jim Bialek.

“This is not about going down to try and hope for fun weather to sit outside,” said Bialek. “This is hard-core commitment to fastball.”

Sending teams to play other schools on these types of trips is part of what makes Humber Athletics so successful, said Bialek.

“You go where the competition is just to find a measuring stick of how good you are and how good you can be,” he said.