Bubba Nickles, of Merced, has returned from the Olympics in Tokyo.
B. Nickles Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
This season, Division I softball is serving as a proving ground for athletes aiming to compete in the 2021 Summer Olympics in Japan.
The U.S. team headed to Tokyo includes Rachel Garcia and Bubba Nickles of UCLA, as well as Dejah Mulipola of Arizona. Nicole Mendes (University of Oklahoma) and Tatyana Forbes (North Carolina State University) will both represent Mexico in the upcoming World Cup.
Gabbie Plain, a Washington state native, is competing for a spot on Australia’s national squad.
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College players who are on the verge of making Team USA’s Olympic roster often tour the country with the national team in the years leading up to the Olympics.
Together with Team USA and coach Ken Eriksen, Garcia, Nickles, and Mulipola decided to return to their collegiate squads for the 2018 season.
According to Eriksen, COVID-19 has eliminated touring opportunities for the remaining 15 U.S. players. College athletes, he claimed, benefit from the increased competitiveness they face in games.
They have an advantage over the other 15 players because they are training every day,” Eriksen said of the college players.
They’re getting regular plate appearances and practise sessions. I wish things were different with COVID and that the other 15 were getting the same amount of attention.
Mike Candrea, head coach of the Arizona Wildcats and of the United States Olympic team that won gold in 2004 and silver in 2008, has remarked that the annual tour games don’t provide as much of a test for his players as they do for their collegiate teams.
When asked about his team’s touring schedule, he replied, “We only play teams we’re confident in beating.”
But I think the three college kids are going to get an opportunity to play a very demanding schedule that will prepare them, although the competition level is not as excellent as you would like it to be.
Since three of the finest players in college softball are coming back, this is great news for the sport.
Garcia, a pitcher and first baseman, was named the 2018 and 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and the 2019 Women’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player. As a utility player, Nickles was recognised as a 2019 Softball America All-American.
Mulipola made first team NFCA All-America and was named the 2019 NFCA Catcher of the Year.
The three are still Actively involved in Team USA’s Training, According to Garcia.
“During our Zoom calls or team meetings, we do have the opportunity to participate,” she stated. Which means we’re still in the know about everything that’s going on.
In addition, we were instructed that we can “go and just workout, play, or whatever is going on whenever we are needed up until the Olympics.”
Eriksen said he has no concerns regarding the readiness of the players because the teams they represent know what to do.
When it comes to coaching softball at the collegiate level, Candrea is among the best. Lisa Fernandez, an assistant coach at UCLA, has won gold at the last three Olympic Games.
All four players, Garcia, Nickles, Mulipola, and Plain, are members of the Pac-12 and are well aware of the difficulty of beating each other’s teams.
UCLA is number one, Arizona is third, and Washington is fifth in the most recent USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll.
Nickles has predicted that this year’s games against Mulipola and Arizona will be particularly exciting.
Nickles: “It is incredibly wonderful that our other teammate is at a Pac-12 institution. We’ll have a special connection that will make playing against her even more exciting.
Forbes, an outfielder for Mexico’s national team, placed second in hits, fifth in batting, and eighth in on-base percentage during the 2016 season. Mendes, one of her teammates, is a versatile player who has made the Women’s College World Series All-Tournament team twice.
Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso has stated that she agrees with Team Mexico’s assessment of Mendes, and the No. 2 Sooners currently hold the No.
We’ve been talking, and it’s great that I know a few people on Team Mexico’s coaching staff and that they have faith in me, as Gasso put it. The mentality is, ‘Just get her ready. What we do at OU, I believe, will prepare her for the future.
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In Australia, Oregon State pitcher Tarni Stepto is in the Running for a Roster slot.
Instead of playing for her college team, she decided to stay at home and focus on her training. Plain made the decision to play, and her aspirations to earn a spot in Australia’s roster have increased the pressure she feels to deliver strong results for the Huskies.
I’d say it’s really crucial, but they’ll pick the guy they think will be the best fit for the Aussie squad, according to Plain.
There’s a lot of competitiveness among the pitchers, I’d say. Just keep playing as well as I can for the most part.”