Bomberger sets sights on softball

By Arlie Rahn

Arizona Daily Wildcat

While she might not exactly be Deion Sanders, UA volleyball player Heidi Bomberger is considering trying her luck with the Arizona softball team. Bomberger, a junior outside hitter, has expressed an interest in playing first base for the softball team.

"This is a brilliant opportunity for me as an athlete," Bomberger said. "I really want this to happen."

Bomberger has been the only player considered from the walk-on tryouts held this week by UA softball coach Mike Candrea.

"We feel she has the mental make-up of a great athlete," Candrea said. "But we know that first and foremost she is a volleyball player."

Bomberger's decision will come at a key time for the Arizona softball team, which will be without the services of All-Americans Leah Braatz and Leah O'Brien. Both are redshirting this season O'Brien because she was named to the 1996 softball national team and Braatz for personal reasons.

"Coach Candrea said that they had some positions opened because of the loss of a couple of players," Bomberger said. "I am hoping that I can step in and maybe work with Coach Candrea to help me improve in some areas."

While she has never played at the collegiate level, Bomberger is no stranger to the softball field. At Tucson's Sahuaro High School, she was a three-year letterwinner and most valuable player of the state softball championship game her senior year. The only question regarding the move is if it would come at the expense of her volleyball skills.

"I haven't made a decision at this point on whether this would be a good move for the team," said UA volleyball coach Dave Rubio. "She is a very integral part to our success as a volleyball team."

Previous athletes, such as former UA football and baseball star Tony Bouie, have also tried to juggle two sports. But they have always had to work their way back up the depth chart at the beginning of each season due to missed spring or fall practices. Bomberger, however, is not really worried about losing her standing in volleyball.

"My role has really lessened on the team this season, so I don't know how much my volleyball skills would suffer," Bomberger said. "But it will be difficult to say when I can focus 100 percent on softball because I am currently concentrating on volleyball."

While the coaches on both sides will have some bearing on her decision, Bomberger said she is sure of only one thing at this point.

"In the end it is going to be my decision," Bomberger said. "I have to look over what is going to be the best move for my situation."

Read Next Article