"While growing up, it was always a dream of mine to one day wear the Red, White & Blue, and I finally got that chance this past summer," Lauren Gibson said. "It means so much to me to get to put on the U.S. uniform and represent my country.
"It's also an honor to compete alongside such a great group of friends from different colleges while playing a sport that has meant so much to me."
Fellow Lady Vol standouts junior Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and sophomore Ellen Renfroe (Jackson, Tenn.) were also included among a group of 11 players that have accepted invitations to try out for one of the five remaining spots on the 17-member Senior Women's National Team or for the roster of the 2012 USA Softball Women's Elite National Team at the USA Softball Selection Camp in June.
Chavanne previously played for the 2010 USA Softball Women's Futures National Team and was included among the invites that participated at the 2011 USA Softball Selection Camp in Chula Vista, Calif.
In all, 12 players were tabbed to the senior roster by the USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Committee: Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif./Cal senior), Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif./Arizona State 2009), Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md./Tennessee junior), Ashley Holcombe (Fayetteville, Ga./Alabama 2009), Molly Johnson (Tucson, Ariz./Kentucky 2010), Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nev./Iowa 2006), Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif./Arizona 2009), Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla./Florida senior), Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif./Oklahoma junior), Jordan Taylor (Valencia, Calif./Michigan 2011), Rhea Taylor (Buford, Ga./Missouri 2011) and Chelsea Thomas (Pleasantville, Iowa/Missouri junior).
Throughout the spring, additional athletes will be invited to the selection camp, where the five remaining members of the 2012 USA Softball Senior Women's National Team and the 17-athlete roster for the 2012 USA Softball Women's Elite National Team will be decided.
Following the camp, members of both squads will play each other in exhibition contests before beginning official competition.
The USA Softball Senior Women's National Team will compete at the World Cup of Softball VII in Oklahoma City, Okla., the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship in Surrey, B.C., Canada, and the ISF XIII Women's World Championship in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. The Women's Elite National Team will compete at the 2012 World University Games in Colorado Springs, Colo.
On her way to being chosen as USA Softball's nominee for the U.S. Olympic Committee's Female Athlete of the Month for October, Gibson, who is from Pasadena, Md., hit an impressive .529 overall (9-for-17) with eight runs scored, a double, three triples, a HR and eight RBIs while going 3-for-3 on stolen bases and slugging at a 1.118 clip during the Red, White & Blue's gold medal run at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The second baseman was 1-for-2 for Team USA during the title match-up against Canada, blasting a tone-setting, first-inning solo home run to go along with three runs scored and an RBI in the 11-1 (4 inn.) triumph.