Nov. 9, 2016
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame senior outfielder Karley Wester (Huntington Beach, California/Edison) is the latest in a line of Irish softball greats to earn the chance to compete for the United States. On Wednesday, Wester was officially invited to attend the 2017 USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Camp scheduled for Jan. 1-5, 2017 at Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex in Clearwater, Florida.
Wester is among more than 50 athletes that have been invited to vie for 17 spots on the 2017 USA Softball Women's National Team (WNT) roster. During the selection process athletes will participate in position drills as well as simulated games, and will be evaluated by the USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Committee (WNTSC).
Later this year the USA Softball WNT will compete at a Pan American Games/World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Championship Qualifier in Florida, where the U.S. will look to qualify for the 2018 WBSC Women's World Championship to be held in Chiba, Japan, and also the 2019 Pan American Games to be held in Lima, Peru. A complete 2017 schedule for the WNT, including exhibition games, will be announced at a future date by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and USA Softball.
"It is an incredible honor to receive an invitation to try out for Team USA," Wester said. "This has been a dream of mine since I was in fifth grade, but it had slipped my mind in recent years. This year, before I left for school, my mom gave me a gym bag my dad received when he worked the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and my dreams of the opportunity to play for Team USA that I cooked up when I was a little girl were once again revived.
"I am excited and proud for the chance to compete to represent my country, as well as my family, my hometown, and all the teams and coaches I have played for," Wester added. "From the Firecrackers, to Edison High School, to the University of Notre Dame, I couldn't have done it without them all. I hope to make everyone proud with this amazing opportunity."
Wester, who became the eighth Notre Dame multi-time All-American by claiming National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America third team honors in 2016, is believed to be the first Irish softball player invited to a full USA Softball National Team camp since 2002. Megan Ciolli ('05) and Jarrah Myers ('02) each represented Notre Dame at a summer 2002 USA Softball WNT selection camp in Chula Vista, California, after Myers, Lizzy Lemire ('01) and Jen Sharron ('01) previously toured with a pair of national team rosters in 2001.
"To have Karley trying out for the national team is a huge honor for her, and a huge honor for our program," Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf said. "Over the years Karley has proven, time and time again, that she is one of the very best at her position in this sport. She will do an amazing job representing herself, her family, and the University of Notre Dame at the national team selection camp. We at Notre Dame couldn't be more proud of Karley's career thus far because of how hard she works day in and day out. I'm excited for her to have this opportunity, and I'm also excited to see how she will lead the way for our program over the next seven months."
One of the Top 10 Finalists for the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, Wester enters her senior season as the active NCAA leader with 256 career hits, and has the second-most stolen bases (98), third-highest career batting average (.443) and third-most career runs scored (183) among returning Division I players.
Wester appeared in all 56 games in the Notre Dame outfield in 2016, finishing the season with a .446 batting average, nine doubles, three home runs, 33 RBI, a .484 on base percentage and a .554 slugging percentage along with single-season program records with 91 hits, 68 runs and 46 stolen bases. In the process, Wester became the first Notre Dame player in the program's 28-year history to score at least 50 runs, record at least 80 hits and steal at least 25 bases in three straight seasons.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.