May 15, 2009
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ATLANTA, GA – Karma has definitely been with the University of Iowa softball team through its travels to Atlanta for NCAA Regionals.
The team left Iowa City around 4 p.m. Wednesday, just as the majority of the student-athletes wrapped up final exams for the semester. Iowa was fortunate enough to have a charter flight scheduled from the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids direct to Atlanta, but a nice surprise was waiting for the Hawkeyes on the runway.
AirTran Airways had a 130-seat, 737 jet unoccupied heading to Atlanta, after it had dropped off some U.S. troops in Wisconsin. Instead of flying back to Atlanta empty-handed, the massive jet served as Iowa’s charter flight to Atlanta. The team and staff had plenty of room to stretch their legs on the plane, only taking up roughly 30 of the 130 seats.
“The charter was absolutely amazing,” senior Sam Heinzman said. “It was so nice having that big plane all to ourselves. Some of us were a little tired after finals, so it was great to have such an easy trip down to Atlanta.”
The team arrived in Atlanta at approximately 8 p.m. eastern time, and headed to the hotel for the night. Wednesday was open practice day at Mewborn Field, and the Hawkeyes had a chance to get accustomed to the facility. The team practiced for around two hours, and feels very comfortable at Mewborn Field.
“Georgia Tech has a great softball facility,” sophomore Chelsey Carmody said. “It’s a brand new field, and it is in great shape. We are hoping to have a lot of Hawkeye Black and Gold in the crowd this weekend.”
Karma struck again for the Hawkeyes during practice, as a giant hawk circled Mewborn Field during practice. The hawk found a home on one of the light poles during practice, keeping a watchful eye on the team that shares its name.
Even more coincidental connections came during lunch Thursday. The team found a local restaurant for its meal after practice that just happened to be managed by a 1997 graduate of the UI. The gentleman was also from Des Moines, and graduated from the same high school (Des Moines East) as current Hawkeye pitcher Amanda Zust.
The Hawkeyes will finally take the field Friday at 4 p.m. (CT) against Auburn in the opening game of the Atlanta Regional. Friday’s contest, along with all NCAA Regional games, can be heard on AM-1630, KCJJ.