SHU’s Nichole McClendon travels to train for the Olympics with Guatemala’s national team

Seton Hill university junior cybersecurity major and Spanish minor, Nichole McClendon (bottom right) poses with Guatemala national softball team in Canada. Photo from Coach Pelle.

Seton Hill Junior cybersecurity major and Spanish minor, Nichole McClendon, an outfield pitcher on the Seton Hill softball team, had the opportunity to train for the Olympics with Guatemala’s national team. 

McClendon discusses her experience with the Guatemala national team, which can be read below.

Tell me a bit about your trip, where did you go? 

“So, we qualified to go and try to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Surrey, Canada.” 

Was it just you or you and a team? 

“It was the Guatemala national softball team.” 

How did it feel going to Canada to train? 

“It was definitely really interesting. I was really nervous because I knew I was going to be playing these big D1 softball players from the United States, and just knowing the competition I was going up against, but it was also really exciting because even if we didn’t qualify, it was still a cool experience to be able to go and try to qualify for the  2020 Olympics.” 

Have you ever watched the Olympics, what’s your favorite thing to catch up on? 

“I’ve watched swimming, mainly because my family is really big into swimming, and my cousin was actually in the Olympics at Rio.” 

How long did you go to Canada for?

“Over the summer I went to Guatemala to train with them for two, two and-a-half weeks, and then to train for this tournament, the tournament was roughly about a  week long.” 

What was your schedule like while there? 

“We got there, kind of just practiced, and then played I’d say about everyday. We got a break in between one of the days, I don’t remember which one, but we got a break in between and was able to go sightsee, and then we had a couple more games. After that I think we stayed one more day and I think our host took us around Canada.” 

What inspired you to want to play softball? 

“Since I was little, I kinda started up T-ball, my parents always kind of told us – me and my siblings – that they wanted us to play a sport, they didn’t care which one it was, they weren’t going to force one on us but as long as we were playing something, staying active.”

“So, I started out in T-ball, after T-ball I went swimming, because like I said, my family’s big in swimming and then my dad kind of got laid off so we couldn’t afford it anymore so I went back to softball and just kind of played softball, started travel ball… My dream was always to play softball at a college level, never would I thought I’d be on a national team playing at that level.” 

Are you excited about the Olympics? 

“We didn’t qualify, but it was exciting to play, I mean I got to play against Meghan King, who pitched at FSU, I’m pretty sure they recently won the D1 championship so… I got to face Aleshia Ocasio who was a big pitcher at UF, so it was really cool.”

Do you plan on continuing softball after college? What’re your plans? 

“That’s a good question, it just depends on everything, I’d love to easily say yeah, I’ll graduate and I’d go over there for a couple of years maybe if they want me to continue practicing with them all the time and then play in tournaments when they need me, but also just depends on the job I get, if I get a job… but if not.”

“I hope to still play with them. Best case scenario, I can live at home, work out with my dad, practice with my dad while I”m working and just do the same thing I am now- just kind of fly over when I need to be with the team a couple times a year and then play in tournaments with them.”

Published by Caitlin Srager

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