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20070627 White House Welcomes Champs
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/27/2007
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The national champs in front of the Capitol Building
WASHINGTON D.C. ?C The back-to-back NCAA Champion Arizona softball team met with members of all three branches of government Wednesday, capped off with an afternoon at the White House and President George W. Bush.

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Arizonaˇ?s 2006 and 2007 teams arrived at the nationˇ?s capitol Tuesday and visited the Washington Monument, the Congressional District and the World War II Memorial last night.?

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Wednesdayˇ?s activities began at 8 a.m. (EDT) as the UA travel party of nearly 40 people headed to Capitol Hill to begin sightseeing and to hear a brief orientation of the dayˇ?s events.? Less than an hour later, Rep. Ra??l M.Grijalva (D-Ariz.) greeted the Wildcats to take photographs and to speak with the team.

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Following that, the UA contingent marched the Supreme Court, where the group received a surprise and exclusive visit from Chief Justice John G. Roberts.? The 17th chief justice of the United States spoke with the team for just over 20 minutes and fielded questions from the group, before taking a photograph with the team.

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Next, UA visited the Capitol Building for a half-hour long tour before heading off to eat lunch.

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At approximately 2 p.m., the team bus pulled up to the White House for the dayˇ?s main event.? After being processed through security for the third time that day, UA toured the White House and saw the Blue Room, the Green Room, the Red Room, the Dining Room and the East Room.

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President Bush with the 2006 and 2007 WCWS Champions
After the tour, the 2006 and 2007 national champions were joined by President Bush for a team photo in the Rose Garden.? Next, the team joined President Bush for Tee Ball on the South Lawn, for a one-inning game featuring Little League softball players from Maryland and Virginia.? UA seniors Caitlin Lowe, Kristie Fox and Chelsie Mesa, along with WCWS Most Outstanding Player Taryne Mowatt served as honorary coaches for the two teams.

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During the game, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) met with the team to offer congratulations.?

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Following the game, President Bush was available to take informal photos and candid conversation with the team and other spectators.

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The long day had one more event, as UAˇ?s D.C.-based alumni association, the Capitol Cats, held a public reception for the team at a local ESPN Zone.

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Two other University of Arizona teams previously have been invited to the White House -- Coach Lute Olson's 1997 men's NCAA Basketball Champion by the Bill Clinton administration, and Coach Mike Candrea's sixth (2001) of eight NCAA Softball Champion teams during President Bushˇ?s first term in office.

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Rep. Giffords and Candrea

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The team is scheduled to see the Smithsonian Institution ?C the worldˇ?s largest museum ?C early Thursday before departing to go back home.

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