Two members of the Iowa Wesleyan University softball team will get the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands-Antilles Curacao this summer. Ellen Morris (SO/Montrose, IA) and Summer Johnson (JR/Fairfield, IA) have both been selected by USA Athletes International to represent Team USA on the softball field. The pair will leave on July 31, 2016 and return August 7, 2016.
Morris started 29 games for the Tigers this season and had a .220 batting average. She had the second highest fielding percentage on the team and committed just two errors in 31 games played. When asked how her season with Iowa Wesleyan will help her on Team USA, Morris said, "While playing with the Tigers I've learned to play with different people. I have also learned to play for the team and not myself."
The opportunity to play for Team USA is a dream many athletes have, but Morris will be able to live it out this summer. "It has always been a dream of mine to represent my country playing softball. I'm super excited about being able to represent Iowa Wesleyan and Team USA at the same time."
Summer Johnson's season with the Tigers this year was her first time back to fast pitch softball in eleven years. She was a master at time management this season, balancing work, school, her kids, and still was able to find time to play softball. Johnson started 29 games for Iowa Wesleyan and hit .289 on the year. "Since I had not played fast pitch softball in eleven years prior to my season with the Tigers, I think it helped me out tremendously. I was able to get reacquainted with the rules and regulations, and get used to the speed of the pitch. The season with Coach Hampton, Coach Kali, and my teammates helped make it so that I will be able to do my best while representing the USA," said Johnson on how the season helped prepared her for this trip.
Like Morris, Johnson feels playing for Team USA is living out a dream. "It is a great honor to be chosen to represent the USA. I never thought I would have the chance to do anything like this. It is a dream come true."
The part of this opportunity Johnson is looking forward to the most is learning the culture and playing softball. "I'm excited to learn about Netherlands-Antilles Curacao. I want to know all about their culture, their history, and their people. I am also excited to play softball. When you mix both of these experiences, it is like a little slice of heaven."
USAAI began participating in international competition in 1992 for baseball as the Midwest All-Stars. In 1998, they changed their name to USA Athletes International and now support 15 different sports that compete in 25 different countries.
STORY COURTESY OF IOWA WESLEYAN SPORTS INFORMATION OFFICE