Only because the sport of Softball (along with Baseball) was removed from the Olympic program since 2012, Cal Softball alum Valerie Arioto (‘12) has not yet earned the honor of being a “Calympian” despite being a big part of the USA National Team for the last 4 championships (played every other year). The former Cal pitcher/1st baseman is now just slugging for Team USA while playing 1st base. After helping USA qualify for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo games, Arioto is officially named to the Team USA Olympic squad on Sunday.
One of the greatest hitter in Cal history who also was a very reliable pitcher, Arioto was a Pac-12 Player of the Year for her senior season in 2012, when she also won the Senior Class Award and the Tom Hansen Conference Medal. In that senior year, Arioto set a then Pac-12 record of 22 homers in a season. She also had an ERA of 1.22 with a 20-2 record from inside the circle as Cal’s co-ace along side Jolene Henderson. Arioto also slugged 19 homers in her junior year in 2010 before missing the entire 2011 season due to a broken leg injury.
Arioto was voted into the CGB Hall of Fame (remember when that used to be a thing here?) back in 2013.
Fellow Cal alum Jazmyn Jackson, who was also on the winning 2018 USA World Championship team, did not make the 15 women roster nor was she named as one of the 3 alternates.
Softball’s fate in the Olympics is uncertain beyond the 2020 games. It (along with baseball) is currently not on the roster for the 2024 Paris games, but may be back for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Only 6 teams will qualified for a relatively small field of the 2020 games. In addition to USA, host Japan, Italy, Mexico, Canada, and Australia are the other countries in the hope of winning the Gold.
GO BEARS! GO VAL! GO USA!