Wichita State’s CC Wong earns a spot on the Canadian national team

When CC Wong selected Wichita State from the transfer portal, she finished a softball season with a .288 batting average, no home runs and seven RBIs.

The Shockers gambled that Wong would return to the hitter she had been in the junior-college ranks, while Wong felt more empowered than ever by a coaching staff led by Kristi Bredbenner that believed in her.

Ultimately, WSU reaped the rewards of an All-American season at the top of the lineup and Wong enjoyed a breakout year that earned her the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year after she hit .470 with 14 home runs and 53 runs. and 50 RBIs.

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Her turnaround in Wichita also brought Wong, a native of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, to the Canadian Women’s Softball Team, which was announced Tuesday by Softball Canada. She is only the second former WSU player (Sydney McKinney, USA) to be named to a national team.

“It means the world. To be able to play for my country is the greatest honor I can (dream of),” said Wong. “I wouldn’t be here without Wichita State.

“When you go into the transfer portal you don’t know what’s going to happen on the other side. Is the grass greener on the other side? You do not know. But for me it was. (WSU) took a chance on me and they helped me see the potential of what I could do and it’s all props to them for this year.

Wong will join Team Canada for a busy summer that will see them play at the P5 Colorado event from June 26-28 in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Canada Cup from July 1-7 in British Columbia and the Women’s Softball World Cup from July 11-26 in Italy.

She told local media on Tuesday that she actually tried out for the national team last summer but was cut and received feedback on what she needed to work on from coach Kaleigh Rafter, who is also an assistant coach at Florida State.

Since childhood, Wong had aspired to play for her country after watching her cousin, Jenn Salling, play for Team Canada. When WSU recruited Wong, Salling, now an assistant coach for UCF, put in a good word for her.

And now Wong, like her cousin, will wear her country’s colors.

“It’s absolutely crazy to think that the dream I had as a little kid is now a reality,” Wong said. “Watching Jenn grow up was so cool and now some of her teammates are my teammates. It’s so surreal for me that I can now call them my teammates. Jenn has been a mentor to me throughout this journey and someone I have looked up to my entire life.”

Wong credits the focus on her mental health as a major reason why she was able to perform so well for WSU. She worked extensively with Mallie Hall, a mental health and performance counselor in the athletic department, and that work translated into the best softball season of her career.

Although her time in Wichita lasted only one year, Wong said it will always have a special place in her heart.

“For me it was about trying to get stronger mentally and everyone really helped me with that last fall,” Wong said. “When I was able to get my mental game in the right place, I was able to really compete and be like, ‘Okay, I can do this.’”

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