The Weber State University softball team is gearing up to start their season on Friday in Phoenix, Arizona at the Grand Canyon Tournament. The Wildcats will take on Grand Canyon University, New Mexico and Stanford.

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Takesha Saltern slides home for the ‘Cats. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“We have built a culture where they expect to be at the top,” head coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “We know the expectation and we embrace that, and we know that will bring out the best in us.”

The ’Cats are coming off an impressive season last year. WSU went 14-2 in conference play, winning the Big Sky and clinching their first win in the NCAA tournament last year over Cal State Fullerton.

“The goal for our team this year is to be better than the year before,” Amicone said. “It is to be our best self, and we have new puzzle pieces, but we will figure it out to be the best team possible.”

Weber State will play 27 away/neutral games before they host Utah Valley University on Tuesday, March 27.

“The preseason challenge definitely helps us with conference play during the season,” Amicone said. “We love going out and traveling to play because we can’t play any home games due to our weather.”

The Wildcats are returning 16 players from last year, and among them is senior outfielder Takesha Saltern.

“We are super excited to go out and defend our Big Sky Title this season, and go out and play in some warm weather,” Saltern said. “We’re ready to show what we have been working on. I think gaining team chemistry that we had last year will help us on our journey to another Big Sky Title.”

Saltern and the team want to make it back to the NCAA tournament, but in order to do that, they have to play one game at a time. The Wildcats want to focus on the preseason first and then be at the top of their game once it’s time for conference play.

“Being the reigning champs is exciting because everybody is going to try and play their best against us,” senior outfielder Landi Hawker said. “It is just exciting, and we look forward to it.”

Before conference play starts, the Wildcats will have traveled to Arizona, Nevada, Texas, California and back to Nevada.

Throughout the stretch of the preseason, WSU will take on the University of Texas, Stanford, San Diego State, UCLA and many other great opponents.

The Wildcats open their season Friday to take on the University of New Mexico and Grand Canyon University.

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