By Megan sprengeler
After a groundbreaking season, the Iowa baseball team will compete on a global level.
The International University Sport Federation announced June 6 that the Hawkeyes have been selected to represent Team USA in the World University Games in August.
More than 170 countries will compete in the 22 sports at the World University Games, and Iowa was chosen over several other schools to represent the Red, White, and Blue.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our student-athletes, staff, and the University of Iowa to be able to represent our country at the World University Games,” head coach Rick Heller said in a release. “This experience will be tremendous from both a competitive and educational standpoint, and we’re thrilled to be able to play against some of the best competition in the world while wearing the red, white, and blue.”
The multisport competition is held every other year, open to male and female competitors between the ages of 17 and 24 while competing as students at colleges or universities within the past year.
The team is set to compete in Pool B from Aug. 20-29 in Taipei, Taiwan. The Hawkeyes will compete against Mexico, Russia, and Japan. Pool A will consist of Chinese Taipei, South Korea, the Czech Republic, and France.
The team will open against Mexico on Aug. 20, followed by Russia on Aug. 22 and Japan on Aug. 23. The Super Round and Consolation rounds will take place Aug. 25-26, followed by semi-finals and consolation rounds Aug. 27-28, ending with the bronze and gold final scheduled for Aug. 29.
“We are excited to have our baseball program represent the United States, state of Iowa, and our university at the World University Games,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a release. “It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that our student-athletes can learn and grow from.”
The stadiums to host the games are the Taipei Tianmu Baseball Stadium, which seats 10,000, and the New Taipei City Xinzhuan Baseball Stadium, which seats 12,500.
“We’re incredibly excited to have the University of Iowa joining us as the USA National Baseball Team for the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan,” Nels Hawkinson, the deputy of delegation for the USA Team, said in a release. “Coach Heller, the student-athletes, and staff will have one of the greatest experiences of their lives staying in Athletes Village with over 10,000 athletes from 170 countries.”
The opening ceremony will take place on Aug. 19. A live stream of the event will be available for fans to watch.
After a foreign trip to the Dominican Republic in November 2016, this competition will be the Hawkeyes’ second international exposure in the past nine months.
Iowa is the second university team selected to represent the U.S. in baseball, Cal State-Fullerton being the other in 2015. This is the fourth time baseball has been played at the games.