The Hope College softball team has taken some long road trips for games during its history, but none matches the upcoming odyssey of coach Karla Wolters' Flying Dutch who will leave Monday (Aug. 12) for a 10-day tour of Australia.
By air, it is 9,385 miles from Holland, Mich. to Sydney, Australia. The final leg from Los Angeles to Sydney takes 14 hours.
This is the first international trip for the Hope softball program which annually takes spring ventures to Florida for a series of pre-season games.
Other Hope teams that have travelled overseas in the past have included men's and women's basketball, football and men's soccer.
Coach Wolters, who has guided Hope's softball fortunes since 1988, is no stranger to Australia. She travelled there for the 2000 Olympic games and witnessed the softball competition.
The team has three scheduled games in Sydney and a doubleheader in Cairns, Australia which will require yet another flight. In addition to the games, there will be plenty of sightseeing and the opportunity for a community service project in Cairns.
The teams returns to the United States on August 22. Classes for the fall semester at Hope begin on August 27.
Players participating in the trip include senior Andrea Adams of Fairgrove, sophomore Kristin Barncord of Granger, Ind., senior Jen Boersma of Door, senior Angie Bunker of Muskegon, sophomore Lisa Burgess of Dorr, sophomore Cristi DeGraff of South Holland, Ill., sophomore Jill English of Grandville, sophomore Candace Graham of Hudsonville, junior Kelly Kraft of Brown City, sophomore Kristen Lodden of Rockford, junior Allison Miller of Hopkins, sophomore Alex Reed of Lansing, senior Kristi Ridge of Elk Rapids, junior Erin Riley of Homer Glen, Ill., sophomore Jessica Robinson of Grand Haven, sophomore Megan Sheehan of Hudsonville, sophomore Sammie Smith of Hudsonville, sophomore Lauren Vande Kopple of Rockford, and sophomore Ashley VanMeter of Dansville.