Alicja Wolny had a stellar softball career at Louisville.
The former Bee All-Metro first-team player from Oak Ridge High School made the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America second team this season and landed her fourth All-Big East Conference selection after leading the Cardinals with a .423 batting average and setting a school record with 55 RBIs.
What's nicer for Wolny is that her career will continue for at least two more years.
Wolny is in London and will join the British National Team on Thursday when it begins training for the European Championship from July 7-13 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Great Britain hopes to become one of four European qualifiers for the 2014 World Championships in Holland, which should include the United States.
Wolny, a first baseman, has dual citizenship and relatives in England, so she jumped at the opportunity to visit her mother's homeland for the first time since sixth grade.
"What more can you ask for but to travel the world and play the game you love," Wolny said. "I feel so honored. It's going to be an interesting experience."
That's heady stuff for a former left-handed shortstop in her youth playing days.
Wolny was a four-year starter at Louisville, where she ranked in the top five for career hits (248), doubles (67), home runs (29), RBIs (165) and games played (232).
She's also one of numerous former area players who made an NCAA All-Region team, including Cal's Jolene and Danielle Henderson and Lindsey Ziegenhirt (each from Sheldon), Oregon's Jessica Moore (Sutter) and Courtney Ceo (Bear River), Oregon State's Natalie Hampton (Center), Florida's Stephanie Tofft (Lincoln) and UCLA's Ally Carda (Pleasant Grove).
"It's the type of girls we have," Wolny said. "They grow up being competitive, they work hard, and they put the time in. We also have great coaching and great fields. Some of my teammates who played in Kentucky don't even have fields with fences. We're really blessed here."
Wolny will return to Louisville in the fall she has another semester before she graduates and that's fine, even if it's a long way from El Dorado Hills.
Wolny loves the sports-mad atmosphere that is Louisville.
"It's a home away from home," Wolny said. "The support for Louisville athletics is amazing. Our men's basketball program won the national championship, our women's team made the finals, and the baseball team (was) in the College World Series."
Another All-American Cal State San Marcos senior pitcher Cortney Allen of Elk Grove was named to the NAIA All-America first team for the second year in a row.
Allen posted a 34-7 record with a 1.12 ERA in 249 2/3 innings. She struck out 203.
The No. 9 Cougars finished the season 43-12 after losing to St. Xavier of Chicago 3-1 in the NAIA National Championship playoffs.
Allen suffered a back injury during a game the summer after graduating from Elk Grove. She went to cosmetology school and spent time working as a hair stylist and at other jobs before returning to school and the sport in 2010 at Sacramento City College. She was the California Community College co-Pitcher of the Year in 2011.
Last year, she went 24-6 in helping San Marcos reach the national semifinals. She finished in the school's top 10 in ERA (1.10), opponent batting average (.194), wins (58), saves (10) and complete games (39).
Football background helps Former Ponderosa volleyball standout Samantha Rains is preparing for her junior season at Dominican University.
But the middle blocker/right side from Placerville also is using her previous experience as a youth football offensive lineman and linebacker to teach children about the game at the San Rafael college's sports camps this summer.
Rains comes from a football family. Her father, Randy, played defensive tackle at Sacramento State. Brother Connor is an offensive tackle at Wyoming.
Her other brother Clay played football at the United States Military Preparatory School and is now on the Army Black Knights' club boxing team.
Rains, a 6-foot junior, led Dominican in total blocks (51) and solo blocks (18) last season.
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.