A quartet of Bruins is headed to Tokyo.
Two current and two former members of UCLA softball were selected as members of the U.S. Olympic softball team roster for summer’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Of the 15 players on the roster and three replacements, only three are current collegiate athletes and two of them are Bruins.
The four players hailing from Westwood are the most coming from any school, with the second most coming from Florida with three. No other university has more than one representative.
Redshirt senior pitcher/infielder Rachel Garcia and senior utility Bubba Nickles won the Women’s College World Series in June with UCLA softball and were both selected to the Olympic team.
Garcia was awarded the Honda Sport Award for best female collegiate athlete of the year for the 2018-2019 academic year and has competed with Team USA for the last two years. Nickles played with the USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team in 2015 and 2017.
Former UCLA pitcher Ally Carda – who graduated in 2015 – and infielder Delaney Spaulding – who graduated in 2017 – also made the Olympic team.
Carda has competed with Team USA for the last five years, and Spaulding has been on the team for four.
Sophomore pitcher Megan Faraimo was one of the 30 athletes invited to the team’s Olympic Selection Trials, but she didn’t make the cut. Faraimo competed with the USA Softball U19 Women’s National Team this summer and threw a perfect game against Mexico on Aug. 10, after being named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for the 2019 season.
There’s a storied history of UCLA softball players competing for the USA in the Olympics, most notably assistant coach Lisa Fernandez. The former Bruin pitcher on gold with the U.S. National Team in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and was an alternate in 2008.
After the 2008 Olympics, baseball and softball were removed from the next two Olympics. Both sports will be reintroduced to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Despite the 12-year gap, there are two returning players from the last Olympics for the 2020 roster. Pitcher Cat Osterman – who competed in 2004 and 2008 – and pitcher Monica Abbott – who competed in 2008 – are the only players with previous Olympic experience.
The Olympic Games will be taking place between July 24 and Aug. 9, with USA competing against five teams in the softball tournament. Japan, as the host country, automatically qualified and will be joined by Canada, Mexico, Australia and Italy in pursuit of Olympic gold.