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Fans 'Meet the Hawks'
UI softball team hosts annual meet-and-greet with fans Tuesday night
Freshman Melanie Gladden signs an autograph at Tuesday's 'Meet the Hawks' night.
Freshman Melanie Gladden signs an autograph at Tuesday's 'Meet the Hawks' night.
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Feb. 7, 2012

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IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa softball team officially kicked off the 2012 season Tuesday night, hosting the eighth annual "Meet the Hawks" night at the UI Bubble.

"Our charge as a coaching staff is for us to start competing at a higher level quickly," said UI head coach Marla Looper to the crowd of the approximately 200 Hawkeye faithful. "With that our players have had to elevate what they're doing every day.

"We're looking forward to a great season. It's going to be competitive, and we're facing some very challeging teams, and we're going to beat some of them and put Iowa on the map again.

"It has been a few seasons since Iowa has been in the NCAA Tournament, and it is time to get us back there. This group's charge is to get this program back on the map."

Following an hour intersquad scrimmage, the Iowa student-athletes interacted with the fans in five interactive stations. After the group reassembled, Looper introduced the 20 student-athletes that comprise the 2012 roster.

Following a question and answer session with the fans, Looper talked about the upcoming 2012 season before the Hawkeyes closed out the event by posing for pictures and signing autographs.

The Hawkeyes open the 2012 season on Friday afternoon at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas. Iowa opens tournament play against Wichita State beginning at 12:30 p.m.

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