June 10, 2003
OKLAHOMA CITY - Five former Arizona softball players and two current stars will compete this summer for USA Softball squads in the Pan American Games and in other international competition.
Four ex-Cats -- pitcher Jennie Finch, infielder Lovie Jung and outfielders Leah O'Brien-Amico and Nicole Giordano -- have been selected for the U.S. National Team that will compete in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in the Pan American Games Aug. 1-17.
By summer's end, coaches for the team -- Arizona's Mike Candrea, the head coach, and assistants John Rittman of Stanford and Ken Eriksen of South Florida -- likely will determine the makeup of the U.S. National Team for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Current UA All-America pitcher Alicia Hollowell, a sophomore-to-be in 2004, and slugging catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest will join former UA third baseman Toni Mascarenas on the USA Softball Elite Team that will play in the Canada Cup July 4-13 and later in a series versus Australia July 15-20 in San Francisco. Coaches for that group include Jay Miller of Missouri, Michele Gromacki of Cal State Fullerton and Kirk Walker of Oregon State.
Tucsonan Tairia Mims (Salpointe High School), who helped lead UCLA to the NCAA Championship at the Women's College World Series last month, also made the U.S. National team. Others include Laura Berg, Lisa Fernandez, Crystl Bustos, Amanda Freed, Jaime Clark, Keira Goergl, Nina Lindenberg, Natasha Watley, Jessica Mendoza, Stacey Nuveman, Jenny Topping, Lori Harrigan and Cat Osterman.
O'Brien-Amico, Berg, Fernandez, Harrigan, Nuveman and Bustos are returning members from the 2000 Olympic gold medalist team.