Finding a second home: California-born sisters comfortable in Fargo playing for Bison softball team
Fargo - As a kid, Rudy Victa's father was in the military so he became accustomed to moving around the country. Still, when his daughter Elisa Victa decided four years ago that she was going to play softball at North Dakota State, there were mixe...
Fargo - As a kid, Rudy Victa's father was in the military so he became accustomed to moving around the country. Still, when his daughter Elisa Victa decided four years ago that she was going to play softball at North Dakota State, there were mixed feelings.
It's a long way from the Victa home in Laguna Hills, Calif., to Fargo. Yet, he's always encouraged his children to see a bigger world.
"I wasn't sure how she was going to handle it," Rudy said. "I think California people in general tend to be kind of soft, but it's been a good experience for her. I've seen her grow."
This year, growth is coming in pairs. Freshman Kristina Victa joined her older sister in the Bison program and both have been significant contributors in a season that is getting better by the week.
After struggling early, NDSU has won 10 of its last 12 games heading into the home-opening series against South Dakota State this weekend at Ellig Sports Complex. It was moved back a day to a Saturday doubleheader at 2 p.m. and a single game Sunday at noon.
Elisa Victa's career is on its last weeks. She's started 211 of a possible 212 games so far in her career that's included Summit League titles and an NCAA regional title. The only miss was last year at IUPUI in a stretch when she was battling a leg injury, although she pinch-hit and therefore has played in every Bison game.
The Victa sisters are two of eight California players on the roster, a connection that has treated NDSU well over the years. Their parents get to see them when NDSU makes its West Coast swing every year. They've also been to Fargo for games.
They hear the stories like when Elisa called two years ago to talk about the experience of helping save Fargo from the flooding Red River.
"She was in the dome sandbagging and she was in a sandbag line by the river - it was cold and it was wet," Rudy said. "Being able to adjust and meet new people, just doing different things is a good thing. It adds to one's personality."
Now Kristina is getting the North Dakota education. She had every reason to get scared about it - she came to Fargo to watch Elisa two years ago in April and the series was snowed out.
"But I thought I wanted to get out of California and see what it was like," Kristina said. "I was influenced by Elisa to come here. She said you'll never get another chance like this."
They played together for one year at Laguna Hills High School. The reunion this year is different only in they're older.
"We've both matured and we both know how to take criticism from each other," Elisa said.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack's NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia