OKLAHOMA CITY?-Seven former Wildcats will participate in the National softball team selection camp at the U.S. Olympic training center in Chula Vista, Calif., this September. The Women’s National Team Selection Committee will evaluate the athletes for three days before selecting the 17-member Pan American Qualifier team.
The Amateur Softball Association and USA Softball invited 35 athletes to the camp, which will be led by UA coach and U.S. National team coach Mike Candrea. Also named to the USA Coaching Pool to lead the September selection camp program is former UA catcher and coach Stacy Iveson, now coach of Pima Community College in Tucson.
Wildcats picked for the tryoutare 2004 Olympic gold medalists Jennie Finch (pitcher) and Lovie Jung (infielder), Olympic team alternate Nicole Giordano (outfielder), former catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest, and current players Alicia Hollowell (pitcher) and Caitlin Lowe (outfielder). All played earlier this summer in international competition for Team USA or the Elite Team.
The chosen team will compete November 26-December 5 in Guatemala City, Guatemala, at the qualifier tournament for the 2006 World Championships in Beijing, China and the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro. An official roster announcement will be made on Monday, September 12 identifying the selected athletes. Following this camp, the Women’s Selection Committee will also announce the 2006 National Training team (22 members) that will train together during selected weeks from January- May of 2006.
All USA Softball events in the next two years are part of the process toward the eventual tryouts to determine the roster for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, although other players yet to be identified may have later opportunities.
Candrea will lead the team in Guatemala this fall assisted by Ken Eriksen of South Florida, John Rittman of Stanford and Teresa Wilson of Texas Tech. Iveson's new role in September gives her a shot at more subsequent USA Softball coaching assignments.