By Kevin Gemmell***
Joanna Gail has a lot of different titles in her life – most of which revolve in one way or another around softball: “Poway High starting shortstop” and “University of Oregon recruit” are just a couple. Now, she can add “Greek National Team member” to the list.
And “Olympian” could be just around the corner.
After an extensive tryout process that stretched over several months, the 17-year-old PHS senior was officially named to Greece’s 20-person National Softball Team roster last week.
Gail and her team will travel to Greece in March in preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Athens, this August. A final evaluation period will be held in June, where coach Linda Wells will trim the roster from 20 to 15, with three alternates.
At the March test event, Greece will host Bulgaria, China and Russia in a round-robin style tournament. It will be Gail’s first taste of international competition.
“I’m sure it’s going to be intimidating at first,” Gail said. “But once you get out there and start playing, it’s just softball. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a great experience.”
Gail, who gets her Greek heritage from her mother’s side of the family, is one of three high school players to make the squad.
Wells also kept four shortstops on the team, including Gail. The PHS senior said she’s not sure what that does for her chances of making the Olympic roster, but she’s just thrilled to have the opportunity to compete.
“I’m never going to be satisfied,” Gail said. “You want to make the 15-person roster, but I think it’s a great accomplishment in itself to get this far. I’m going to give it my best shot. If it’s not good enough, then it’s not good enough. But I’m going to give it my all.”
Gail was informed last week that she had made the national team, something she never expected when she began the tryout process during the summer.
*** From “News Chieftain”