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Strathmore’s Lauryn Dirks wins national softball championship on UBCO team

The University of British Columbia, Okanogan (UBCO) Heat Women’s Softball Club are the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association (CCSA) champions and among the team is Strathmore’s Lauryn Dirks.

The three-day championship event saw teams from both the Western and Eastern conferences compete in Kelowna on the High Noon Field — home turf for the UBCO Heat, from Oct. 9-11.

The UBCO Heat claimed their title after defeating the St. Clair Saints 5-4 in extra innings. The game ended at the bottom of the ninth inning and marked a perfect 6-0 record at the championship for the Heat.

Also impressively, the team is only in its third year of existence at UBCO.

Dirks, who has been playing softball since roughly the age of 10 beginning with the Strathmore Thunder, said she was signed onto the Heat during her Grade 12 year of high school.

“I’ve played lots for the competitive teams in Calgary and in Strathmore, but this is definitely the biggest championship I’ve ever won,” she said.

It hasn’t been an easy ride for Dirks to get where she is as she works against two previous shoulder surgeries and Type 1 diabetes.

“When I was in Grade 7, I broke my shoulder pretty bad in a horse accident and so I had surgery then and I had surgery just over a year ago again, so that put me out for a while,” she said. “I’m also a type-one diabetic, so that has its whole own set of struggles … but I’ve been really working through it and I’ve worked really hard to make it (so) I’m not different than anyone else and I can do anything anyone else can do.”

Instead of being dragged down by her afflictions, Dirks sees them as constant motivators. She added she hopes to set an example for other girls both to play sports and to not let anything stand in their way.

“My best advice would be (to) just try your best. Even (with) diabetes I can do everything right and my blood sugar cannot react like it should … just put yourself out there and try your best,” said Dirks.

“You might have to take different steps to reach the same end goal as someone else, but the steps you take are totally fine and justified for what you have going on in your own life. Not everyone’s path has to look the same.”

Dirks attributes her love of softball to her coaches back in Strathmore and aims to one day coach the sport herself and to encourage other kids to play.
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