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Local Catholic HS grads earn Olympic Hall of Fame honors

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Two graduates of Los Angeles County Catholic high schools, instrumental in leading the U.S. women's softball team to Olympic gold medals, were inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame July 12 in Chicago.Pitcher Lisa Fernandez, a 1989 graduate of St. Joseph High School in Lakewood, and catcher Stacey Nuveman-Deniz, who graduated from St. Lucy's Priory High School in Glendora in 1996, were part of the 2004 gold medal-winning U.S. team that was named to the Hall of Fame.Fernandez, currently an assistant softball coach at UCLA where she led the Bruins to NCAA titles, was part of three gold medal teams (including 1996 and 2000) and during her career was regarded as the world’s top softball player. Nuveman-Deniz, an assistant head softball coach at San Diego State, set multiple NCAA and school hitting records at UCLA as a four-time All-American (as was Fernandez). And both women provided much of the firepower in the U.S. team's 5-1 win over Australia in the 2004 gold medal contest in Athens: Fernandez pitched a four-hitter and scored a run, while Nuveman-Deniz smashed a long home run, capping an Olympics that saw the undefeated U.S. outscore its opposition 51-1. Nuveman-Deniz also played on the 2000 gold medal team in Sydney, and earned a silver medal in the 2008 games in Beijing.In high school, both were known for practicing long hours that helped them to achieve success on the softball diamond, and have made return visits over the years to their alma maters to speak to students, encouraging them to pursue their dreams.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0727/fernandez/{/gallery}

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