Kansas to represent USA at World University Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team will represent the United States at the International University Sports Federation’s (FISU) Sixth World University Baseball Championships (WCB) July 6-15, 2018, in Chiayi, Taiwan, KU officials announced Friday.
The Jayhawks were selected by the United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) to represent the United States. They are the first collegiate team to wear the red, white and blue in the WCB and are the third team overall to represent the country as a collegiate national team, joining Cal State Fullerton (2015) and Iowa (2017) who played in the World University Games.
“Our program is truly honored to have been selected to represent the United States in Taiwan this summer,” head coach Ritch Price said. “Having been an assistant coach with Team USA in 2008, when we won two gold medals, I know first-hand the outstanding competition that we will face in Taiwan. We will compete against the national teams from other countries, including the 2017 World University Games Champion in Japan.”
No stranger to international competition, Price was an assistant coach on the 2008 USA Collegiate National Team that took home gold in the Fourth FISU WCB after posting a perfect 8-0 record against Korea, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Canada, Japan and Chinese Taipei.
“We look forward to the competition and representing Kansas and our athletics department in a first-class manner,” Price said. “As we all know, summer baseball is a crucial part of each player’s development, and we are thankful that our guys will be able to compete in the World University Baseball Championships, and still get to experience summer baseball while having a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
That once in a lifetime opportunity for collegiate baseball players began in 2002 at the first-ever FISU WCB. Since then, the WCB has been played bi-annually on even years opposite of the World University Games. However, after the 2010 WCB, baseball play suspended in the championships and is set to resume in the upcoming 2018 World University Championships.
For Kansas’ participation, only U.S. citizens can compete, and incoming freshmen and transfers qualify. A total of 22 student-athletes are allowed to participate. The Jayhawks will spend nearly two weeks in Taiwan.
“We will compete without our seniors, and the juniors who sign professional baseball contracts will obviously not be making the trip as well,” Price said. “It will be a tremendous learning experience for our younger players and should help us prepare for the upcoming 2019 season.”
The United States holds more medals – three gold and two silver – in the event than any other participating country, including taking home the crown in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Japan is second on the list with four medals – two silver and two bronze – while Cuba is third with three medals – two gold and one bronze.
This trip will also mark the second foreign tour for the Jayhawks in less than a two-year span, as they trekked to the Dominican Republic in November of 2016.
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