UHV to host spring tournaments in golf, softball, baseball
Jan. 14, 2013 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 13, 2013 at 7:14 p.m.
The University of Houston-Victoria is about to do something no other NAIA school has done.
UHV will play host to the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Spring Championships in golf, softball and baseball.
UHV athletic director Ash Walyuchow made the announcement at a Monday news conference attended by school and city officials and coaches and players from the teams involved.
"There have been other schools to host individual championships," Walyuchow said. "But we believe we are the first school to host all the championships at the same time."
The golf tournaments will be held April 29-30 with the women at The Club at Colony Creek and the men at Victoria Country Club.
The softball tournament is scheduled for May 1-3 at the City of Victoria Youth Softball Complex, and the baseball tournament will be played May 1-3 at Riverside Stadium.
The winners earn a berth in the NAIA national championship tournament.
"These qualifying tournaments will feature some of the top programs in the NAIA," said AII commissioner Ted Breidenthal. "The fans who will attend will get to see great competition."
UHV President Phil Castille said hosting the tournaments points to the role athletics has played in the school's growth.
"Downward expansion has been a major success," Castille said about the university's decision to admit freshmen and sophomores in 2010. "We would not have achieved the success we had in meeting our goals if not for athletics."
UHV previously hosted AII spring tournaments in baseball in 2009, in softball in 2010 and in golf in 2011.
"We're excited to be over there," said softball coach Keri Lambeth about playing at the city's softball complex. "They have great facilities. And being able to have home field advantage is always good. We're happy that we'll be able to sleep in our own beds the night before games and that's always important."
As the host teams, the Jaguars will get an automatic bid to the qualify tournaments, which will benefit the baseball team tremendously.
"It will allow me to run the team a little bit differently throughout the year," said baseball coach Terry Puhl. "I'll get a little more development play. More players will play early. With the schedule that we have, you sometimes throw your very best at somebody every night. I won't have to do that."
The baseball and softball teams began spring practices on Monday, and the golf team will begin practicing next week.
"We rarely get to see each other during the year because being independent we're spread out," said golf coach Brian Williamson. "Our nearest school that is a direct competitor is in Houston, the next one is in Brownsville or Dallas. It's good because it's our golf course."
The women's golf tournament will be a 36-hole event and the men will play 54 holes.
Softball and baseball will play five-team, double-elimination tournaments.
The banquet featuring the athletes will be held after the golf tournament's conclusion on April 30.
The upcoming spring tournaments figure to be good economic news for the city and local merchants, who can look forward to an influx of fans.
"This is a great opportunity for the university and the citizens of Victoria to come together and promote the city of Victoria," Walyuchow said. "We will have teams from Canada, California, Iowa, Louisiana and other parts of the country here participating in this unique event."