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FORT LUPTON — When the list of 16U Top Gun All-Americans was released, Morgan Vasquez found her name among its members.
The award was based on a season that ran from early March through early July. That amounts to eight games a weekend, at a time, and more than 100 total games.
Vasquez said there were 20 states represented and more than 40 teams in her division, which included some of the nation’s top teams. She also noted that there were 40 NCAA Division I teams, 15 NCAA Division two programs and 23 NCAA Division III and junior colleges in the tournament.
“All year long, these are the tournaments teams strive to compete in,” she said. “It was a great thing to experience with my teammates, getting the exposure that we did. Without my team, I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity. Because of everything we as a team endured and fought for, I got the chance to showcase in a huge tournament like this. To get an award like this on a stage like this is huge for my recruiting process.”
Vasquez didn’t think all the extra softball was too much.
“I never think whether it’s too much but whether it’s enough,” she said. “I love this sport with everything I have. It’s my passion. After every game, all I can think about is taking extra grounders or extra BP (batting practice) and what I can do to get better. I don’t think there will ever come a time when I ask myself if it’s too much. I’m always going to test my limits when it comes to softball.”
Before she left for the tourney in Missouri, she went to an awards dinner. Former Denver Broncos running back and TV sportscaster Reggie Rivers was the keynote speaker.
“From that speech, something really stuck with me,” Vasquez said. “He said, ‘I wasn’t the best player out there. But I was sprinting while everyone else was jogging.’ That has stuck with me, and it always will. When I was playing in Missouri, I made mistakes. But I sprinted every inning of every game. It’s about hard work and effort.”
Vasquez was chosen to play for the American Freedom softball team in Texas. She said it was one of the top 10 organizations in the eyes of Triple Crown sports. She’ll play for American Freedom during the 2014-15 season.
“I know that without my supporters, I wouldn’t be half the player I am today,” she said. “The experience at the Top Gun select elite invitational has been one of the greatest experiences in my softball career.”
Contact Sports Editor Steve Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.