Softball players confront OKC tornado

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Robyn Hall, 15 a sophomore at Poudre High School and her teammates, Mya Boehnke, and Brittany Bigge, both 16, members of the Stars competitive softball team, didn’t get to play in their Oklahoma tournament the first weekend in June. There just weren’t enough of them. Several of their teammates who planned to fly from Colorado to the tournament didn’t make it because of a tornado near Oklahoma City.

The three girls, who drove to the tournament with their coach, Brittany’s dad, Jason, arrived a day early, in time to experience an Oklahoma tornado up close and personal. When they learned that a storm with baseball-size hail was on the way, their coach drove them away from their hotel, and he thought, away from the on-coming weather. As the storm approached, they stopped in a parking lot, hoping to wait it out.

The sky turned inky black, sirens wailed and the foursome found themselves on the road again, soon stuck in a mass of escaping traffic. They ended up ditching their car and hurrying into a nearby mall to take cover.

“The tornado shelters were full, but it was good to be inside the mall,” Robyn said. “We watched water leaking from the ceiling. A storm chaser with an iPad explained what was happening and showed us photos.”

Meanwhile, teammates back at the hotel took shelter in bathtubs and covered their heads with mattresses.

Robyn said the screeching sirens and the knowledge that her teammates back at the hotel might be in danger scared her most.

Two weeks later, the entire team competed in a tournament in Steamboat Springs. “Everything went well,” Robyn said. But in the years to come, The Stars who made it to Oklahoma are likely to have more vivid memories of the games they did not get to play.