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Dec. 17, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State softball team has elected three captains to lead the squad for the 2005 season, as the Buckeyes selected seniors Karisa Evans, Natalie Hales and Meghan Rowlands as fall practice concluded last month.

Equally as important as their achievements on the field, all three of Ohio State’s 2005 captains were Academic All-Big Ten selections last season.

“We’ve had good leadership so far from all of our veteran players and now Meghan, Karisa and Natalie know that our team and our coaches are really relying on them,” Linda Kalafatis, Ohio State head coach, said. “We have good talent and good people in our program, and we need these three young ladies, along with our other veterans, to keep our team focused and working hard to obtain our goals for this season. It doesn’t happen without great leadership and we are trusting that they will be tremendous role models.”

The Buckeyes return 14 letterwinners and eight starters, including Evans, Hales and Rowlands, from last year’s squad that posted a 35-25 overall record and went to the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last three years. Ohio State begins its 2005 season Feb. 18 at the Florida Atlantic Tournament in Boca Raton, Fla.

Evans (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin H.S.), OSU’s rightfielder, was a third-team All-Big Ten selection last year and was named OSU’s Offensive Player of the Year. She played in all 60 games and batted .312 with 20 RBI and a team-best 14 multiple-hit games.

“I am very honored and proud to be chosen by my teammates and coaches as a leader for this team,” Evans said. “We have great talent this year and are looking forward to the upcoming season.”

Hales (Canton, Ohio/Eastern Michigan), OSU’s catcher, played in 51 games last season and received two postseason awards, including the Buckeye Power Club and the Buckeye Spirit Award. She batted .214 with three home runs to go along with steady play behind the plate.

“I feel extremely honored to have been chosen as one of the captains this year,” Hales said. “We have a very focused, hard-working team with a lot of natural leaders and an experienced group of upper classmen. I’m confident that all of the seniors are going to do their jobs as leaders and keep our team moving in the right direction for a successful season.”

Rowlands (Hilliard, Ohio/Bishop Ready H.S.), OSU’s centerfielder, played in 53 games last year and earned the Coaches’ Award following the season. She batted .227 and had 10 stolen bases and was a steady leader in the outfield.

“I’m excited for the start of our season to begin,” Rowlands said. “We have a lot of leaders on our team and everyone will be a leader at some point during the season, but it is an honor to be named captain. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to represent and lead our team.”

### GO BUCKS! ###