Some things are so definitively green and gold that they perfectly illustrate CSU and everything it stands for.
Think CAM the Ram. The Oval. The Aggie “A” painted on the hill west of Fort Collins.
And you would also have to include families – multiple generations of students who brought their dreams to Fort Collins and became Rams – in that conversation as well. And there’s no better example of that – on the athletics side, to be sure – than the Oglesby/Hutton clan.
Six of them, spanning three generations, have played for CSU in three different sports. And all have left a big impression on the school they love.
“Their family legacy is amazing – and extremely rare,” said Jen Fisher, CSU’s softball coach. “It’s such a neat story that they have all come to CSU.”
The latest – and currently last – in the line is Bridgette Hutton, star senior pitcher for the CSU softball team and a key figure in their breakout season that has them leading the Mountain West and ranked in the nation’s Top 25. She is the third of three Hutton sisters – Taylor and Haley preceded her – to star for the Rams.
Five decades of green and gold
The legacy was started by Fred Oglesby (BS Physical Education’65, MED Education ’70), who played football for the Rams before embarking on a career as CSU’s trainer that spanned 32 years. He was so highly regarded, and so respected by generations of CSU athletes, he was voted into the CSU Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, six years before he retired.
Oglesby, though, contributed more than his athletic and training skills. Two of his children – son Luke (baseball) and daughter Chris (softball) – both signed on to be Rams and had outstanding careers.
Luke played in CSU’s final season in 1992 (baseball was discontinued that year) before finishing at New Mexico. After earning all-Western Athletic Conference honors, he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1993 and played six minor league seasons. He died unexpectedly in 2017.
Chris (BS Construction Management ’90) was a standout for CSU softball for four years. In 1989 and ’90 the Rams dominated the WAC, winning back-to-back titles and rising to 12th in the national rankings. She met her husband, Randy (BS Industrial Technology ’89), at CSU before embarking on a career in construction.
And that’s when the story got really interesting. Over the years there have been a number of athletes who followed one or more parent to make it back-to-back generations of Rams. But to stretch it to a third generation – with THREE sisters, no less – is unique.
“All three of the girls could have gone anywhere – they were all highly recruited – but there’s always been this comfort level at CSU,” Chris said. “They grew up at CSU, just like I did. We would take the girls into the training room when dad was still working and they would dink around, just like Luke and I did when we were little. Honestly, CSU is like a home for us.”
Taylor (BS Construction Management ’15) was the first to make the trek from Platteville and Valley High School to CSU, as part of Fisher’s first recruiting class. She was a standout outfielder for four years.
Next came Haley (BS Civil Engineering ’18), perhaps the most talented of the group. She was Mountain West defensive player of the year as a senior, a four-time all-MW selection and she stands first all-time at CSU with 190 runs and second with 251 hits, 16 triples and a career batting average of .384. She played two years with Taylor and two with Bridgette.
Now it’s Bridgette’s turn, and she has a chance to do something her sisters couldn’t quite pull off: Getting her team to the NCAA Tournament. The Rams have qualified for the NCAAs just twice in the 46-year history of the program, 1997 and 2003, but they might just pull it off this season. Consider:
- Their 11-0 start in the Mountain West is the best in program history.
- They were perfect in March – a spotless 16-0 for the month. An entire month of perfection – just think about that.
- Their 29-5 start to the season not only is the best in school history, it included wins over powerhouses like Nebraska, Oklahoma State (No. 16 at the time) and Stanford, and a first-ever series sweep of league foe Fresno State.
- Their 20-game winning streak matches the longest in school history and is one of the longest in any sport at CSU. Football and men’s basketball aren’t close. Only the women’s basketball (28) and volleyball (27) programs have produced longer winning streaks. It’s also the second longest streak in the 19-year history of the Mountain West.
- They have climbed as high as No. 23 in the national rankings, and their RPI has hovered around 30th in recent weeks. This marks just the third time in school history that CSU has been ranked.
“We beat some good teams last year, like Texas and Wisconsin, but this year we’re more consistent,” Fisher said. “We talked a lot in the offseason about getting better, day in and day out, and we have done that. We’ve had to make sure little things don’t get in our way. These players work hard at everything they do – practice, games, academics – but they are also having fun. And, of course, it’s extra fun when you win.”
Senior year to remember
Bridgette, majoring in psychology, has played a significant role in the Rams’ surge, putting together a career year in her final season. She’s a team-best 12-2 with three shutouts over a team-high 105.1 innings. She tossed her first career no-hitter against Idaho State and has gone 5-0 in conference games.
“It’s a different atmosphere this year – we play for each other and we have fun,” she said. “We do so many scrappy things to win games, and we believe in each other. That gives me a lot of confidence when I’m pitching.”
Fisher, a Fort Collins native now in her ninth year at CSU, said Bridgette is a much more confident pitcher this season and that her teammates have sensed the difference.
“Bridgette is so humble and so encouraging – and she never gets on her teammates if they don’t make a play,” she said. “I really think a big part of our success this season is her senior leadership. Everyone just loves to play behind her.”
Work still to do
As for the rest of the season, the Rams have plenty of challenges ahead, starting with a weekend home series against second-place UNLV. Defending champion Boise State, San Diego State, Nevada and San Jose State also have formidable teams capable of winning the Mountain West. The Rams host second-place UNLV on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Despite a perfect March and three consecutive series sweeps to start the league campaign, the Rams can’t afford to stumble if they hope to win their second league title and first in 15 seasons. But that’s where their approach – one pitch, one out, one inning, one game at a time – pays dividends. They don’t get too high after wins, and they don’t dwell on their losses.
“It’s a different atmosphere from the past – we play for each other, we have fun,” Bridgette said. “Our goal is to win a Mountain West title and make the NCAAs. But this team doesn’t look ahead. We’re just doing our thing.”
If Bridgette does become the first of the Hutton sisters to make the NCAA Tournament she’ll have plenty of family support. Chris has been to every game this season – home and away – and Randy has seen most of them. Haley and Taylor make almost every home game, and Fred – his three granddaughters affectionately call him “Grumpa” – and wife Patti will be there, too. Gretchen George, Chris’s mom and grandmother to the Hutton trio, has attended almost every home game these past eight years as well.
Chris, who runs her own softball instruction business and coaches a competitive softball team, dreams of coaching with her daughters one day. She can’t begin to count the number of times she’s driven to Fort Collins from the family home in Platteville over the past eight years, but each trip becomes a family affair – lots of laughs and a family dinner after each game.
She gets emotional thinking about Bridgette’s last game.
“I was standing with coach Fisher at the alumni game in the fall and the tears were flowing back then,” she said. “It will be tough, but it has been a great eight years. The girls have become good people and their educations were great. Softball was just a bonus, really. It’s been a pretty amazing run for our family, to be sure.”