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The Raiderette softball program recently celebrated 50 years of Mount Ayr Raiderette softball.
After the Centerville vs Mount Ayr game to close out the Classic, coach Bret Ruggles and the 2021 softball team welcomed onto the field once more, former players that wore the uniform, including members from the very first team in 1972.
Coaches, James Saville, Sally (Frederichs) Young, Amy Shields, Jody Boord and the very first head coach, Mark Larsen, were in attendance.
Larsen surpassed over 700 wins in his career. Wins that saw 14 conference championships and 25 district titles.
His 1982 and 1994 teams went to State Softball and he was inducted into the Iowa Softball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998 and was a finalist for National Softball Coach of the Year in 1999.
In 1974-78, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986 and 1987, the Raiderettes were Tall Corn Conference Champions before becoming Pride of Iowa Champions seven times in 1989-93, 1995 and 2019.
The team went to the State Tournament in 1982, 1994 and recently 2019 and 2020.
In 2019, the Raiderettes placed third at the State Tournament, the best finish ever for Raiderette softball.
On the field were grandmothers, mothers and daughters that all wore the uniform at one point in their lives.
Closing out the ceremony, the Raiderettes, both past and present, joined hands in a circle for a tradition started in 2017 by head coach Brandie Ruggles, a former player from 1994-1998, for a team prayer that has been done after every game for the past four years.