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Grafton alumnus and current Elon University softball player Hannah Olson had the opportunity of a lifetime, playing against the USA Women’s Softball National team during a pair of exhibition games over the weekend in New Jersey.
Olson, a 2014 graduate of Grafton High, was shocked to learn of her selection to play for the New Jersey All Stars – a team made up of top college players from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
The New Jersey All Stars were created for the sole purpose of scrimmaging against the USA Women’s Softball National team, which has been touring the country to play tune-up games against various all-star teams as it prepares to participate in the Pan American Games.
“Honestly, I had no idea this was even a thing,” Olson said. “I didn’t know we could even play against them or that they would be interested in playing against college players.”
The opportunity to play a doubleheader against the top softball players in the U.S. proved to be one Olson could not pass up. She said being able to play for or against the U.S. Women’s Softball National team is “pretty much the dream of every single softball player.”
A week after her selection, Olson made her way to Ewing, New Jersey, to practice with her teammates and socialize with the USA Women’s Softball National team.
Some of the most memorable moments of Olson’s trip came away from the softball diamond. Fielding questions, signing autographs and giving advice to young, aspiring softball players proved a special experience for Olson, who was blown away by the support both teams received from the nearly 4,000 fans in attendance.
“Meeting all the new people and seeing all the people there to support the USA team and even our team, the atmosphere and overall experience of playing in a game like that was probably the best part of it.”
The outcome of both games – the USA Women’s Softball National team defeated the New Jersey All Stars 3-1 in game one and 8-1 in game two – seemed irrelevant to Olson, who was overjoyed simply playing in both games and getting multiple at-bats against some of the top players in the U.S.
“It was an incredible honor,” she said. “It was mostly about the experience and getting the opportunity to do that. It wasn’t necessarily about how well I did. I was just so grateful to be in that spot and have that opportunity.”