By Sean Barows
Four former or current Tennessee softball players were among the 43 initial athletes chosen to participate in the 2016 USA Softball Women’s National Team Selection Camp as announced by The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball.
Vols chosen to take part in the camp include legendary pitcher Monica Abbott, current Team USA players Raven Chavanne and Lauren Gibson, and current Tennessee shortstop Meghan Gregg.
The selection camp will take place Jan. 2-8, 2016 at Bill Barker Parker in Irvine, Calif., with the 43 players vying for 17 roster spots on the 2016 USA Softball Women’s National Team. Those that make the cut will compete with the team at the World Cup of Softball XI, the XV World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship and the Japan Cup next summer.
All four Tennessee representatives picked for next year’s selection camp have had prior experience with the national team program, either competing for the senior or junior national team.
Abbott played with the USA Women’s National Team every summer from 2005-10 and won a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She is widely considered to be one of the best pitchers in NCAA history and was named the 2007 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year. Abbott holds a number of NCAA Division I records including: most career victories (189), most career shutouts (112), most career strikeouts (2,440) and most single-season strikeouts (724), among others.
Chavanne and Gibson have each been with the USWNT for the past three summers, winning multiple medals, including consecutive gold medals at the World Cup of Softball (2014 & 2015). They also helped lead the Red, White and Blue to silver medals at the 2014 ISF IXV World Championship and 2015 Pan American Games. Chavanne was a four-time NFCA All-American while Gibson garnered NFCA First-Team All-American honors during her final three seasons with the Vols.
Gregg was part of the USA Softball Women’s Junior National Team following her freshman campaign at Tennessee. She helped the JNT win gold at the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Women’s World Championship and post a 14-4 overall record this past summer. The Williamson, Ga., native earned Freshman All-SEC honors and was also named a top 25 finalist for the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award after belting 13 homers and driving in 51 runs for the Volunteers in 2015.