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Softball team to host special breast cancer awareness event March 17

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Sharon Speiser had a deep connection to the Tennessee Tech softball program. Daughters Katie and Holly Speiser played for the Golden Eagles. So did her nieces, Whitney and Lindsay Williams. And her brother, Chris Williams, was a volunteer TTU coach for six years.

Her death in December from breast cancer at the age of 56 had a deep affect on the Golden Eagles.

On Saturday, March 17, the softball team will host a special event in Sharon's memory aimed toward continuing the push toward breast cancer awareness. The event is the First Sharon Speiser Memorial Weekend, and will take place during the team's Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader against UT Martin. The opening game is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Special t-shirts will be for sale that day from the Golden Eagles, and the team will accept donations toward breast cancer awareness and education. Admission to the games is free. Sharon was a member of a Senior Olympic volleyball team and was a passionate sports fan, playing multiple sports in her youth and later watching as her family competed.

For 11 consecutive seasons, at least one member of the Tech roster called her either mom or aunt.

 
Whitney Williams
1998-2001

Holly Speiser
1999-2002
 
Lindsay Williams
2002-05

Katie Speiser
2005-08

The first of her family to play at Tech was Whitney Williams, who started her career as a freshman outfielder under head coach Bobby Holloway in the 1998 season. The following year, she was joined by freshman infielder Holly Speiser under first-year coach Tory Acheson. Each played four full seasons, helping Tech captire the 2001 OVC regular season and tournament championships and advance to NCAA post-seaon play.

In 2002, with Holly in her senior season, freshman Lindsay Williams joined the roster and she was part of the team's 2003 OVC regular season and tournament championships and another appearance in NCAA play. Lindsay's senior season in 2005 marked the appearance of freshman Katie Speiser as the Golden Eagles captured yet another OVC tournemant title and advanced to the NCAA Regional.

Katie was part of three more Tech teams, through the 2008 season, and helped win back-to-back OVC regular season and tournament championships in 2006 and 2007, and advance two more times to NCAA Regional play each time. She was also part of the team's excellence in the classroom when it posted the highest team GPA in the nation during her senior season.

Combined the four players earned five all-conference awardss and were listed a total of 21 times on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll.

With one of Sharon's family on the roster, the Golden Eagles piled up a 292-186 overall record and went 122-48 against the Ohio Valley Conference.

For more information on the Sharon Speiser Memorial Weekend, please contact assistant coach Samantha Bates at (931) 372-6552 or email her at slovelady@tntech.edu. A Facebook page for the event is also online.