Tournament officials have released the schedule for the 2018 edition of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge. The tournament, produced by Triple Crown Sports, is slated for two sessions, (Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 15-18) and features an impressive 10-team field, bringing together some of the top division I programs in the nation.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this year’s tournament field,” said tournament director Dave King. “The level of talent across the board is going to be exciting to watch. From the prominent power five schools to the mid-major institutions coming, we fully expect an entertaining two weeks of fastpitch in Mexico.”
Three of the five teams in session one made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017. Georgia, James Madison and Louisiana Tech all made it to postseason play, while Nevada was featured in Triple Crown’s inaugural postseason National Invitational Softball Championship.
A star-studded session two has an NCAA Regional qualifier (Texas), Super Regional qualifier (Ole Miss) and a Women’s College World Series participant (Oregon). Houston barely missed the 2017 NCAA tournament, and an up and coming Rutgers squad rounds out the field for week two.
The full schedule is listed below:
Thursday, February 8
Nevada vs. LA Tech, 2 p.m.
Long Beach State vs. LA Tech, 5 p.m.
Nevada vs. James Madison, 8 p.m.
Friday, February 9
Long Beach State vs. Nevada, 11 a.m.
Long Beach State vs. James Madison, 2 p.m.
LA Tech vs. Nevada, 5 p.m.
James Madison vs. LA Tech, 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 10
Nevada vs. Long Beach State, 2 p.m.
James Madison vs. Long Beach State, 5 p.m.
LA Tech vs. James Madison, 8 p.m.
Thursday, February 15
Houston vs. Oregon, 2 p.m.
Rutgers vs. Texas, 5 p.m.
Ole Miss vs. Texas, 8 p.m.
Friday, February 16
Houston vs. Ole Miss, 2 p.m.
Rutgers vs. Oregon, 5 p.m.
Texas vs. Oregon, 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 17
Ole Miss vs. Rutgers, 11 a.m.
Rutgers vs. Houston, 2 p.m.
Texas vs. Houston, 5 p.m.
Oregon vs. Ole Miss, 8 p.m.
All games will be played at the refurbished Nancy Almaraz Stadium. Only a home run’s length away from the ocean, the beautiful ballpark was renovated in partnership with the city of Puerto Vallarta and Triple Crown Sports.
About the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge
The inaugural Puerto Vallarta College Challenge was held in 2015, featuring the teams from BYU, Nevada, Northern Colorado and Southern Illinois. Those were the first fastpitch games in NCAA history played outside the United States.
As word spread about this unique softball setting, Triple Crown Sports and city officials at Puerto Vallarta agreed to pool resources and improve almost every aspect of Nancy Almaraz Stadium, site of the event. While the tournament was not held in 2016, there was enough time to complete the work on the stadium, as well as contact more D-1 fastpitch programs to build a dynamic 10-team field for 2017.
With its February placement, the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge offers programs a warm-weather setting to help launch their spring schedules, while also giving fans a chance to follow their favorite teams while enjoying a memorable oceanside resort retreat and vacation.
About Triple Crown Sports
Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing events in youth athletics and the college ranks for more than 30 years. TCS runs both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and produces the men’s and women’s Cancun Challenge tournaments in November, which have been recognized by Sports Illustrated as a top-5 destination tournament for D-I basketball programs. TCS fastpitch tournaments (including the 1,000-team Sparkler/Fireworks event) draw the nation’s finest club programs, and hundreds of college coaches attend TCS events for recruiting purposes.