COLUMBIA — As the Columbia College softball team prepares to take on two of the top teams in the nation in California, Karina Veit has something else on her mind.
March 25: at Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, Calif.
March 27: at California State-San Marcos, San Marcos, Calif.
March 29: at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.
Doubleheaders begin at 2 p.m. each day.
The Cougars (5-4) will travel to southern California on March 25 to play six games in four days. During the road trip, the Cougars will play NAIA doubleheaders against No. 1 Concordia University and No. 2 California State-San Marcos.
For senior Karina Veit, the road trip offers a chance for her to play in front of family, friends and former coaches—something she hasn't been able to do since transferring to Columbia College in 2011.
"She doesn’t get to go home (regularly) like everybody else," Cougars coach Wendy Spratt said. "She gets to go home for Christmas and after the school year.”
Veit is one of only two out-of-state players on Columbia College's roster. The other is Brittany Tjarks, a sophomore from Strawn, Ill.
Veit, a soft-spoken outfielder, grew up in Huntington Beach, Calif., just a few miles away from Vanguard University, the Cougars' first opponent of the trip, and Concordia. She even considered attending Vanguard when she was in high school but ultimately chose to play softball for Long Beach City College.
When Columbia College was looking for another outfielder for the 2012 season, a former graduate assistant, who also played at Long Beach City College, helped recruit Veit to Columbia.
Veit said the recruiting process was quite simple for her.
"It was one of the few schools that I came to visit, and I really liked it," Veit said. "I'm glad I ended up here (and not Vanguard)."
Veit hasn't expressed her excitement to other players or coaches, but Spratt knows she's looking forward to next week.
"Coach is letting me go home for a couple days so I'll get to spend some time at home with my family," said Veit with a smile.
As far as softball goes, Veit and the rest of the Cougars are ready for the challenge of playing two national championship contenders.
"We like to go play the best teams in the nation," Spratt said. "It'll prepare us for our conference play but also for when we get to the national tournament."
The upcoming games will be extra special for Veit. It will be the last time her loved ones will get to see her play softball competitively.
"I think it's a perfect spring break trip to have my family watch me one last time," said Veit.
She is expecting a big turnout.