Few collegiate athletes ever have the opportunity to play for a national championship.
That rare chance will happen for twins Mallory and Maranda Westbrook, who are products of Rusk High School.
The Westbrook ladies play on an East Texas Baptist University squad that will be playing in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship Tournament, which is being hosted by UT-Tyler, beginning today and running through Monday at Suddenlink Field.
The Tiger gals from Marshall are fresh off a two games to one Super Series victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps last weekend.
ETBU is scheduled to open its quest toward a national title at 4 p.m. this afternoon by hooking up against the defending national champions from Tufts University of Massachusetts.
ETBU will bring a 44-8 record into the double-elimination tourney, while the Jumbos are 42-3.
Both of the Westbrooks are juniors.
Maranda is the Tigers' third baseman, while Mallory handles much of the ETBU catching duties.
The Westbrooks were coached by Ashley Renner at Rusk High School.
Other first round games will pit Rochester (New York) against Wisconsin-Whitewater at 11 a.m. and St. Thomas (Minnesota) versus Salisbury (Maryland) at 1:30 p.m.
Following ETBU's late-afternoon affair, Montclair State (New Jersey) will oppose Trine (Indiana) at 6:30 p.m.
An ETBU win today would send the Tigers into a winner's bracket contest against either Montclair state or Trine at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
If the Tigers fall to Tufts, they would play at 1:30 p.m. Friday against the loser of the Montclair State and Trine game.
ETBU last won a national softball championship in 2010.