WKU Softball: Franklin becomes WKU softball’s first-ever Olympic qualifier

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. –  A 2015 WKU graduate, former Hilltopper softball student-athlete Larissa Franklin has become the program’s first-ever Olympic qualifier. Franklin, a native of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, helped Team Canada in securing a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics over the weekend.

“What an accomplishment and well-deserved honor for Larissa to represent her home country in the 2020 Olympics,” WKU Softball head coach Amy Tudor shared. “I am so proud of her and happy for her; this has always been a goal of hers. She actually missed all of preseason her freshmen season at IPFW to play with the Canadian Futures team in Africa. She is a very driven, selfless individual and I can’t wait to see her represent Canada at the highest level.”

Franklin played for WKU Softball during the 2015 campaign that saw the Hilltoppers clinch the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles. She was a First Team NFCA All-Region selection and earned a First Team All-Conference nod as well from the league. Additionally, during her season on The Hill, Franklin tied the program’s longest hitting streak at 15 games while posting the team’s second-best single-season batting average at .417. She notched 70 hits on the campaign while posting 22 multi-hit outings – the third most by a WKU player in a single season.

Franklin and Team Canada locked up one of six team spots in the 2020 Olympics with Sunday’s 7-0 run-rule win over Brazil. Canada was the fifth qualified team for the Olympic softball competition, joining Japan (host team), USA (World Champion) Mexico (Americas Qualifier) and Italy (winner of the Europe/Africa Qualifier) in Tokyo 2020. The last Olympic spot will be the winner of the WBSC Asia/Oceania Qualifier, to be held in Shanghai, China, from 24-28 September.

Canada went 7-1 in the recent Americas qualifying event as a team – including a 4-1 mark in the Super Round – outscoring their competition 83-2 with seven shutouts along the way.

In Sunday’s Americas Qualifier finale, Franklin recorded a single and triple along with 3 RBI as the Canadians claimed the events second qualifying spot to the Olympics.

Franklin’s first action with the national team was at the WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship in 2011 where the team finished fifth. She joined the senior team in 2013, competing in the World Cup of Softball and the WBSC Americas Qualifier where Canada won a silver medal. Since then, she has been a mainstay in the outfield for Canada, competing in multiple international events including the 2014, 2016 and 2018 WBSC Women’s Softball World Championships, helping to bring home bronze at the latter two events.

Franklin was also part of the gold medal winning team at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and silver medal finishing squad at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima this past summer.