It had been only one week since the end of the Women’s College World Series, but Sierra Romero already found herself back in Oklahoma City.
In her junior season, the Michigan second baseman cemented herself as one of college softball’s top talents and a leader of the NCAA runner-up Michigan softball team. Now she has assumed a new role. Romero was named to the 2015 Women’s National Team in January, and she has returned to Oklahoma City for training camp with Team USA, which spans the second week of June.
“Making the Women’s National Team is something I’ve always dreamt about,” Romero told MGoBlue.com in January. “It’s such an honor that I will have the opportunity to represent the USA this summer.”
The two-time NFCA All-American also spent the summer of 2013 playing on the Junior Women’s National Team, but this will be her first experience on the official National Team roster. Romero joins former Wolverine Amanda Chidester, a 2012 Michigan graduate, and her younger sister Sydney, an incoming Oklahoma freshman and Junior Women’s National Team member.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity and for being to play with such amazing athletes as we go for the gold,” Romero told MGoBlue.com. “To top it off, I’ll get to travel with my little sister Sydney. I’m extremely blessed for the opportunity and look forward to making the most of it.”
So far, Romero has capitalized on all of her chances for success in softball. In three years as a shortstop and second baseman for the Wolverines, she owns several program records with a full season still left to play. She already boasts the most home runs of any Michigan softball player, the program record for total RBI and the NCAA record for grand slams.
During her junior campaign, Michigan coach Carol Hutchins worked to further shape Romero as a leader. Despite her many accolades, Hutchins maintains that Romero’s legacy will be judged based on the accomplishments of her team. The veteran coach has repeatedly referred to former New York Yankee Derek Jeter as a model for the type of player she wants Romero to be.
The season-long challenge for Romero to grow from a talented young player to a leader was largely successful. Hutchins named Romero team captain for her junior season and she adapted to the role, even if it took some time.
“(Hutchins) talked about how (Jeter) elevates everyone around him to be better and do better,” Romero said after Michigan’s WCWS win over Alabama. “That’s what I focused on this year. It took me awhile to understand what that meant, but I found a way to put all my focus on my teammates.”
Of the 16 players on the Team USA roster, Romero is one of just six still in college, meaning that Romero will have the entire summer to learn from the older veterans before she returns to Ann Arbor for her senior season.
After training camp ends on June 13, Team USA begins a two-week period of away exhibition games before heading to Irvine, California to compete in the tenth World Cup of Softball beginning June 29. Both the USA National and Junior National teams will compete against each other, in addition to facing ball clubs from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Venezuela and Japan.
Team USA will then play a slate of Pan American games across Canada through late July. Before wrapping up the summer, the Women’s National Team will travel to Ogaki, Japan to compete for the Japan Cup in August.
Romero has her eyes set on gold. She’s made it to Team USA and has less than a month before having another chance to fulfill another goal. And by mid-August, she’ll be heading back to Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines say the goals never change. Led by their second baseman, the Michigan softball team will be striving to reach the WCWS again. If that happens, Romero would close out her college career with her third trip to Oklahoma City in four years.
There are still some boxes left to be checked on Romero’s already prestigious résumé, but her pursuit of those accomplishments will begin this summer when she dons the red, white and blue.