DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman’s returns to the NCAA Softball Championship sees the Wildcats returning to the site of one of their greatest triumphs.

All but expected, but still exciting, the Wildcats (31-24) learned Sunday night they’ll be Southeast Conference champion Florida (50-8) in the opening round Friday night at 7:30 in Gainesville, Fla. Also in the Gainesville regional: Ohio State (34-14) and, South Florida (38-21).


Bethune-Cookman will make its first NCAA appearance since 2012 and its first since Head Coach Laura Watten returned in 2015. In 2005, Watten led the Wildcats, who received an at-large bid, to a stunning regional championship and a Super Regional berth against Texas.

“That’s definitely nostalgia … Florida’s a totally different team,” said Watten, who will be making her seventh NCAA appearance and tenth overall. “For us, it’s a matter of representing the conference, playing well and enjoying the experience.”

The Wildcats last faced Florida a year ago, dropping a 15-7 decision without Ryan Jackson, now the two-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player Of The Year.

“I was upset about that, “Jackson said. “Now we’re ready to go.”

The Wildcats earned the MEAC’s automatic berth over the weekend by going 4-0 in the conference tournament, including an 8-5 victory over Florida A&M in the championship game.”

The double-elimination regional runs through Sunday.

Courtesy: BCU Athletics

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