Cat Osterman, an Athens gold medalist and national softball player of the year at Texas, was named sportswoman of the year in the team category yesterday by the Women's Sports Foundation.

Paralympic gold-medal swimmer Erin Popovich won in the individual category.

The U.S. softball team was so dominant that it outscored opponents 51-1 en route to its third straight Olympic gold in 2004. Then in July, the International Olympic Committee voted to drop softball and baseball from the Olympics after 2008.

Osterman, who pitched 142/3 scoreless innings in Athens, said she was crushed by the news and will fight to get softball back.

"It was a heartbreaker," she said. "None of us expected it. It was devastating for our sport because it was on the rise. We're in a fight to get it reinstated right now. We do feel very confident in that fight."

Osterman's immediate goal is to add an NCAA ring to go with her gold medal.

She guided the No. 4 Longhorns to a 49-13 record this summer and a third-place finish in the Women's College World Series. Texas has finished third in two of the past three seasons.

The 20-year-old Popovich, of Butte, Mont., grew up in a sports family. Her older brother played soccer and her sister competed in equestrian events.

Popovich won gold in all seven swimming events she entered at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. She is short for her age because of a genetic disorder affecting bone growth.

Popovich won five individual golds, and added two more in the relays, setting numerous world, U.S. and Paralympic records. She won three golds at the Sydney Olympics and plans to compete in Beijing in 2008.

"As I look at it, there's still four more world records I can achieve," Popovich said. . . .

Former Delta State basketball star Lusia Harris-Stewart, two-time Olympic gold medalist Katarina Witt and Fresno State softball coach Margie Wright were inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

-- From News Services