One Ponoka woman travelled to the United States to be inducted into her university’s sports hall of fame. Tina Nielsen

One Ponoka woman travelled to the United States to be inducted into her university’s sports hall of fame. Tina Nielsen

Ponoka woman inducted into alma mater’s hall of fame

“We started that dynasty that still continues.” Tina Nielsen

Ponoka County resident Tina Nielsen took a trip to her alma mater on the week of Jan. 12 and joined her softball teammates as they were inducted into their university’s sports hall of fame.

In 1994, Nieslen and her university softball team, the Oklahoma City University Chiefs won their first of eight national championships in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Her team, and coach Phil McSpadden, started a dynasty with the Chiefs in women’s softball, says Nielsen. “We started that dynasty that still continues.”

At the time, the team consisted of 14 girls, three from Canada, three from Australia and eight from the United States. Nielsen, who pitched for the Chiefs, said she feels grateful to have been able to travel to the United States and get her teaching degree using a full athletic scholarship at the university. For her, 1994 was a memorable year.

“We set a lot of records (and) we broke a lot of records,” said Nielsen.

Nielsen was able to enjoy two more national championships with the team that won in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2007. The 1994 winning team was also really close, says Nielsen. Of the 14 original players, 12 returned to see each during the induction

“To walk away with a full education and friends for life, that’s what it’s all about,” she concluded.