Aubrey Horst Selected for USA Softball High Performance Program

By: Rob Else

Last spring, Aubrey Horst (2027 – Gretna East/NE National-Taylor) received an email from her club coach about a Team USA High Performance Program tryout in Kansas City.  She didn’t know much about the program or really what to expect, but after talking it over with her mom she decided to give it a try.

In June Aubrey attended the Regional Identifier tryout at the MLB Urban Youth Academy.  Aubrey competed against girls from a five-state region that includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, and Missouri.  Players were evaluated on two defensive positions, hitting, and speed.  The top athletes from the Regional Identifier would be selected for the National Selection Event.

On June 23rd Aubrey received the news she was waiting for.  She had been selected for the National Selection Event.

According to the USA Softball website, the High Performance Program is “the pipeline to the Women’s National Team.”  The top athletes from each Regional Identifier are selected to attend the National Selection Event.  After the National Selection Event it’s possible to get invited to the National Team trial.

That National Selection Event was held at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida. “There were so many talented players there. It was really cool to be around them and compete with them,” said Horst.  Several of the USA National Team players were also there, including Cat Osterman, Ally Carda, Gwen Svekis, and Haylie McCleney. 

At the event, the players were run through a series of athletic tests where evaluations were done every step of the way.  “Friday, I had to get all my athletic testing completed. This was the speed tests, the throwing velos, hitting velos, defensive position evaluations. There is an evaluation team at every test recording times and velos and writing evaluation notes,” said Horst.  In addition to the tests, players were provided with classroom sessions on mental health, physical preparation, social media, and Name Image Likeness (NIL).  Players also had the opportunity to show off their skills in live games in front of more evaluators. During the games, teams of evaluators were watching and taking notes on every player.

The event lasted four days and Aubrey had tons of support from her teammates and coaches back home. Several of her Gretna East and NE National teammates reached out with messages cheering her on while she was in Florida.

Overall, the experience was one Aubrey will never forget and one that will help her become a better player.  “It made me get out of my comfort zone and push myself even harder. Playing with and against all those girls was amazing. I realized what parts of my game I do well, and what parts I need to put more work into,” said Horst. It also wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her parents, family, coaches and teammates.

Aubrey plans to play college softball and has just started looking at schools.  She will be attending several college camps this year, including Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and probably a few more.

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