By Patrick Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea has more than a passing interest in the tryouts for the U.S. National Team.
Besides being one of the eight coaches putting players through the tryouts, which run Thursday through Sunday in Oklahoma City, Candrea faces the prospects of losing some of his starters to the national team.
Because the national team leaves on a tour in April, players who make the team will be left with no choice but to redshirt the 1995-96 season. In addition to former Wildcats Susie Parra and Amy Chellevold, senior second baseman Jenny Dalton, senior outfielder/pitcher Leah O¹Brien and sophomore outfielder Alison Johnsen are among the sixty players invited to the tryouts.
³If they make the team, they¹ll redshirt,² Candrea said about his three players. ³If the rules change or something else happens, that could change, but that¹s what it looks like right now.²
The players were selected for the tryouts based on their All-America status or if they played in the U.S. Olympic Festival.
Sophomore catcher Leah Braatz was also selected to participate in the tryouts, but she will not attend. She is redshirting the 1995-96 season because of personal reasons.
Despite the problems it could create for Arizona, Candrea wants nothing but success for his players.
³I hope they do a great job,² Candrea said. ³Whatever happens, it¹s a compliment to them that they got this far. Not everybody does. It would be a great honor to represent the United States. I would support any of my players who make that team.²
Candrea chose not to serve as a coach on the national team because the time commitment would conflict with his duties at Arizona.
The eight coaches, some from the college level and some from professional softball leagues, will focus on specific duties during the four-day tryout. Candrea will work the defensive drills for both the infield and outfield in the mornings and serve as a coach in the intra-squad games during the afternoons.
He has been involved with the national team for the last three years and has served as the U.S. coach at the World Championships two years ago and coached at the last two Olympic Festivals.
Immediately after the tryouts, a seven-member panel will decide who makes up the team. That panel will not be composed of any of the coaches.
³I will have a little contact with my players,² Candrea said, ³probably just during drills and the games.²
Last season, Chellevold hit .443 with 48 RBI and 30 stolen bases, O¹Brien hit .433 with 62 RBI, Dalton hit .390 with 28 home runs and 98 RBI and Johnsen hit .356 with 40 RBI.
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