The Chattanooga softball team held its annual banquet on Thursday night inside the Stadium Club at Finley Stadium. It was a night to reflect and celebrate with friends, family and the community before the team departs on an extended road trip to UNCG and the Southern Conference Tournament in Boone, N.C. A photo gallery from the event can be viewed through the link above.
"This is an important event to recognize the people that work to ensure our student-athletes have a first-class experience," said Head Coach Frank Reed. "It is not about the coaching staff or players, but everybody that helps to make our program successful. We are able provide an opportunity for our players to say thanks for the support throughout the season."
Senior catcher Vivian Morimoto (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and sophomore outfielder Stephanie Rieck (Chandler, Ariz.) were voted by their teammates for the Mayfield Award given to the player that best represents the university and city as a student, athlete and citizen. The two student-athletes received the same number of votes.
"It is such a blessing to know that my teammates believe in me," said Rieck. "I am really honored to have them think that I am a great student, softball player and member of the community."
The Mayfield Award is in recognition of a long-time supporter of Chattanooga Athletics, who enjoyed watching the Lady Mocs programs. Back in 2002, the award was created to remember the dedication that he had for the program and city of Chattanooga.
"Being recognized like this means a lot to me," said Morimoto. "There are a lot of my teammates that are very deserving of this award. This means more than just winning games because it is something that I can build upon for the rest of my life."
Prior to tonight's dinner, the team held a social hour that enabled for the members of the community to talk with the student-athletes and their families. The supporters in attendance had an opportunity to obtain insight into the program as associate head coach Amy Herrington-Woodard showed a team highlight video drawing laughs and smiles from the crowd.
"The supporters, player and staff have a chance to see what has been accomplished this season and reflect on it," said Reed. "It enables you to take that deep breath and tell yourself that we still have some games to play. We are refreshed and ready to dig in for the stretch run."
The program began as the president of the Lady Mocs RBI Club, Mike Burke, gave a speech reviewing the season and talked about the goals that the team still had its sights set on. Coach Reed was next to the podium and talked about all the hard work that is put in behind the scenes to ensure that the program continues achieving academically, athletically and socially.
As the banquet continued, Coach Reed had each class of student-athletes come up and introduce themselves including what has made this year special starting with the freshman and working up to the seniors. Each player was given their poster that hung in the hallway leading to the team's indoor hitting facility at Warner Park.
Chattanooga concludes the regular season at UNCG with the first game of the Saturday doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. The Lady Mocs play the finale of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans can follow all of the action for free with links to audio and live stats on the softball schedule page of GoMocs.com.