In only the second time in program history—the first being 2007—Howard University women’s softball won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Softball Championship. With that came the MEAC’s automatic bid to the 2022 NCAA Softball Tournament.
“This is the most depth we’ve had since I have been here,” said head coach Tori Tyson. “What’s really cool is everyone accepted their role and really tried to thrive in it and genuinely chose each other every day, even when it hurt. That’s what good teams do.”
At the start of the year, Tyson challenged her players to celebrate regardless of their roles. Watching them storm the field after the MEAC win gave her great satisfaction. She knew each teammate committed to the team as a whole and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Over the course of the season, each player had a time to shine.
“When I took this job, it was an eight win team whose biggest goal was to make it to the conference tournament,” said Tyson, who is in her fourth year at Howard. “It took a little bit of insanity to say this is going to be a MEAC Championship team in a few years, knowing how small we had to start. To watch this insane dream all come to realize, that these seniors…now get to celebrate. I’m so grateful as a coach that these people believed in my dream, committed to it and followed it.”
This was a tough season personally for Tyson, a single mom whose daughter’s father passed away. She looked to her players to lift her up in a tough time, and they came through for her. Howard’s women’s basketball coach, Ty Grace, also stepped up, taking Skylar, eight, who loves basketball, to the MEAC Basketball Tournament, which Howard won. Tyson has pictures of Skylar with those players.
“I try to be the best mom I can be and be the best coach,” said Tyson. “Every year presents a new challenge in balancing those roles. I try to be the best version of myself for every team. You have to stay true to yourself.”
Howard’s journey came to an end at the NCAA Regional Round in Tallahassee, Florida, last weekend. The Bison lost its opener to No. 2 Florida State 8–0. A loss at the NCAA Tournament doesn’t mean automatic elimination. Unfortunately, a 6–3 loss to Mississippi State on day two closed the door on this season, but the sense of purpose and hunger for victory continues.