Raising funds to compete abroad

Lexington’s Alyssa Winter stands outside Orscheln where, in February, she will be clipping pets claws as a fundraiser.  Winter will use the money she makes from the fundraiser to help pay for a trip to Europe to play for the SAWUSA softball team in June.

LEXINGTON – A local teen will be fundraising for a trip of a lifetime to compete for her country in an international softball tournament to be held in Europe in June of 2020. Lexington’s Alyssa Winter interviewed and was selected for the Student Athlete World USA (SAWUSA) softball team, departing on Saturday, June 20 and returning Wednesday, July 1.

SAWUSA, according to their website, provides young athletes an opportunity to act as ambassadors of the United States through the sports they love with international competition. The organization has been in operation since 2009.

Winter was suggested to the organization by the team’s coach, Bob Snavely of Pleasant Valley, Mo., as her coach of her 18u competitive fast pitch team, the Kansas Classics. Snavely was selected to coach the 2020 SAWUSA softball team and suggested Winter for a prospective member.

“Alyssa’s attitude, athleticism, work ethic, drive and her character are what I look for and want on my team,” Snavely said in a phone interview. “The traits she has align with our vision when we select athletes to represent the U.S. in those games.”

With international travel come costs. The players’ costs to compete with the SAWUSA team are $4,500. This cost covers travel, hotels, meals, entry into the tournament and team uniform. Winter has plans to raise funds to help with those costs through service along with support of local businesses.

Aside from interest in softball, basketball and soccer, Winter is also an animal groomer. She will set up shop for four fundraisers to cut claws for pets at 10 dollars per dog or cat. She will be clipping claws in Lexington at Orscheln on Sundays, Feb. 2 and 9 while on Sundays, Feb. 16 and 23 she will be at Tractor Supply Co. in Cozad. She will be available from 1-4 p.m. on all dates.

In addition to the fundraisers, two area businesses have confirmed sponsoring Winter in her journey. Jackie Rowan with Shelter Insurance in Lexington as well as Ted Harvey with Lexington Family Eyecare have confirmed helping offset some of the costs.

Harvey commented on helping Winter in a phone interview, saying “We always want to support local youth in the extracurricular activities as part of the community. Others have done it for our kids in the past and this is our time to help.”

In the phone interview with Coach Snavely, he confirmed a second player from Lexington to compete with the SAWUSA team in Europe; Klair Fagot. Winter will play outfield and first base for the SAWUSA team while Fagot will play outfield and shortstop.

According to the SAWUSA website, the players will be traveling to Germany, Austria and Italy. They will have one exhibition game prior to the tournament and will likely play six tournament games.

While the athletes are there to take care of business on the softball field, their trip will be more than games. The group has a few locations planned for touring in their travels such as Venice, the Mauthausen Concentration Camp and Kehlsteinhaus with others to be determined. Kehlsteinhaus, also known as The Eagles Nest, was Adolph Hitler’s retreat outside of Salzburg, Austria.

Individuals or businesses who wish to help Alyssa Winter in her journey with the SAWUSA trip are encouraged to contact Laura Winter at 308-325-6606.

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