American dream

YEAR 12 is a crazy year for any student, but local softballer Ana Helbig can expect anything but a breeze as she juggles her final year of school with her goal of earning a US softball scholarship.
The Nuriootpa High School student was earmarked as a potential scholarship recipient after making a good impression over a lengthy selection and interview process with the National Scouting Report (NSR) Australia.
“I went to try-outs (at West Beach) after the Labour Day tournament to see how fast I throw and I think I did really well – I got one of the quickest speeds,” the 17-year-old told The Bunyip.
The Kangas’ shortstop recorded a seven-second run between first and second base, a time of 2.07 seconds for a throw from a squatting position and registered throws of 88 km/h.
Helbig’s big goal, besides playing for Australia, is to play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for ‘Ole Miss’ at the University of Mississippi, but for now she will put together an ‘online profile’ to
showcase her skills to US coaches.
“I’d love to play for Ole Miss, their softball squad is insane,” Helbig said.
“I’m overwhelmed, I didn’t think I would get past the first interview.
“Offers (from coaches) come about August this year – there are about 1000 different schools (in the US) and you can get about 100 offers, depending on where you want to go.”
Wherever she attends, Helbig plans to study sports sciences over the four-year scholarship, but will have to balance her school work and busy softball life first.
Currently, Helbig plays softball six days a week – for Kangas in the Gawler & Districts Softball Association, the GDSA representative squad and as a permit player for Port Adelaide.
She will play purely at Port Adelaide next season and said she’s not sure how she’ll juggle the hefty year 12 workload with a full softball schedule.
“I have no idea…I’m very committed,” she said.
Helbig also plays rugby union for Burnside, the same club as her older sister, Laura, who originally invited her to try softball.
“She’s always going to give me tips,” Helbig said.
The 17-year-old said she is “very scared” of the possibility of moving to the US, but added the support of her family, including her mother, Regina, and father, Anthony, has helped to put her mind at ease.
“It’s going to be pretty full-on,” Helbig said.
“I’m very, very scared (to move) because I have to leave for so long, but (my parents) are very supportive.
“My mum is planning to come over and see me – they’re loving it.”


Steph Konatar was an intern at The Bunyip during her Bachelor of Journalism degree. After completing her course, Steph moved to Dubbo, NSW, for her first industry job at The Daily Liberal, before moving to Queanbeyan, NSW to pursue her dream of sports journalism. Steph moved back to Adelaide in late 2015 and soon started work at The Bunyip. She plays Aussie rules for West Adelaide and loves basketball and the NBA.

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