Each one has a different personality.
All have a different method for success.
But for the four local high school softball teams headed to the state tournament, they all have the same goal.
That, of course, is a state title.
Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge and Fort Collins will represent the city in Class 5A. Windsor is headed to the 4A tournament.
First- and second-round action is Friday and the semifinals and title games are Saturday. All games are at Aurora Sports Park.
Fossil Ridge is the most experienced squad of the bunch. The No. 7-seeded SaberCats (14-6-1) were 5A runners up last year, semifinalists the year before and this year’s bunch of seniors lost in the first round as freshman.
Fossil Ridge hopes its experience helps lead to another run.
“That first game is really big. If you can get that first one, then you feel like you get some of the jitters out and know what to expect,” said Fossil Ridge coach Dave Philop, whose team will open with No. 10 Legend (19-3). “In our case, we have a group that’s been there, so we feel like if we get out of that first game we can have a pretty good chance.”
The highest local seed is Rocky Mountain (16-5). The Lobos are the No. 5 seed and open against No. 12 Eaglecrest (15-7).
Rocky Mountain — especially its seniors — are eager to finish an upward trajectory. As freshman they didn’t make regionals. As sophomores they made regionals, winning a game. Last year they made state, losing in the first round.
“Now it’s like ‘wait a sec, we can move on,’” coach Matt Nigro said. “We can do better. I know they’re not just satisfied to get there.”
Fort Collins (15-6) is the state newbies. The Lambkins haven’t gone since 2011, so no one on the current roster has been there.
The No. 6 Lambkins open against No. 11 Grandview, the defending 5A champions. Fort Collins hopes it has the right recipe for success.
Star pitchers Cianna Curran and Autumn Anderson have both excelled this year, holding sub-three ERAs.
“They’re both really good pitchers. If we play good defense behind them and have some timely hitting, you know, anything can happen,” Fort Collins coach Keith Aragon said. “They work hard at what they do and spend a lot of time trying to perfect what they do.”
In 4A, Windsor (13-8) is the No. 7 seed and opens against No. 10 Silver Creek (15-6-1). The Wizards have won six of their last eight and hope to improve on a first-round exit a year ago.
“We’ve been seeing a team that doesn’t over-complicate things, which might have been something we didn’t do early on,” Windsor coach Aryn Henneke said. “We don’t spend time thinking about the scoreboard.”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
Local first round Friday schedule
• Rocky Mountain: 10 a.m. vs. Eaglecrest
• Fort Collins: 12:15 p.m. vs. Grandview
• Fossil Ridge: 12:15 p.m. vs. Legend
• Windsor: 12:15 p.m. vs. Silver Creek
•All second round games are at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
•Semifinals and championships are on Saturday. All games at Aurora Sports Complex.
•If rain forces postponements, play will happen on the first available days, allowing the possibility of Saturday/Sunday schedule.