BY PAOLA SALCEDO-PRADO
Jolene Ruiz played softball at College of the Desert (COD) and was offered a partial athletic and academic scholarship at Mayville State University on June 3, 2016. She will continue her softball career and academics as a Comet in Mayville, N.D.
Ruiz decided to sign with Mayville State after researching information about the school and visiting the school she felt that she was going to have a strong connection with her professors, classmates and teammates. Ruiz said, “They made me feel welcomed right away. I heard so many good things about the softball program from previous coaches at COD and two teammates who had signed the previous year with Mayville.
Once I got to meet the coaches and softball team I knew right away that this was the team I wanted to play for. Till this day, I see my teammates as my sister’s; having a strong connection on and off the field.”
Ruiz gets her day started at six in the morning everyday. There are times where practice is rescheduled to afternoons in order to avoid interference with her and her teammates class work. The Comets softball teams prepares for season by practicing five times a week. Practicing with Ruiz consists of working on basic drills such as throwing, fielding, hitting, weightlifting, and learning game situations. At times Ruiz and her teammates would have to practice indoors due to weather conditions and use the gym as if it was the field. Ruiz explained, “On these type of days, we scrimmage against each other so that whatever we work on at practice, we can put those techniques into game plans.”
Keeping a good grade point average, practicing endless hours on the field and spending time with friends can all be very tough. Ruiz said, “I balance my school work, social life and practices by how everything is scheduled out for me. 6 a.m. practices make it easier for us athletes because it helps us focus more on our school work and what we need to get done. In between classes, I meet with my friends to hang out or have lunch. Most of us have classes together so we usually socialize throughout the entire day. Being a student athlete having to balance out school work, social life, and softball starts to become a daily routine.”
Ruiz says it can be overwhelming at times. She serves as motivation and sets a good example of what it means to be a hardworking athlete while excelling in academics.