Jenkins Swings for the Fences

Sevilla Tovar, News Editor

   From hitting home runs, to energetically cheering on teammates, Senior Team Captain Riley Jenkins’s successful softball career and charisma have earned her the title of Female Athlete of the Month.

   Softball has always been a part of Jenkins’s life, as she is going on her thirteenth year of playing. She said, “My favorite thing about softball is how I can never get tired of the sport. I can always go to practice or a game knowing that I will enjoy myself. Everyone on all of my teams are like my second family that I can always talk to and get advice from.” The close-knit bond between her and other members on the team show the influence softball has had on her life.

   Thanks to her diligence, Jenkins has become a notable player in the school’s softball program. According to Varsity Softball Coach Michael Roberts, “Riley has been in our softball program for four years. She was on the Junior Varsity Team her freshman year, and then she earned a position on the Varsity Team her sophomore year.” Since she got the call up, Jenkins has been an irreplaceable part of the Varsity Team.

      Jenkins has been a triumphant player thanks to a combination of internal and external factors. Jenkins credits her teammates and having a confident mindset with helping her play her best. She said, “Having a supportive team is one of the best things! It’s really amazing to have teammates cheering you on when you’re going in the batter’s box or out on the field. We all pick each other up when we are at our worst, and we all have each other’s back on and off the playing field.” Jenkins also believes that having a strong mentality is critical to performing well. She said, “90 percent of the game is mental, and confidence is a key part of that. Even if you don’t know how you’re going to do in a game, if you tell yourself that you’re the best player, you’ll do just fine.” Willpower and support, merged with pre-existing skill, results in an unstoppable player.

   Dedication to the sport is another one of Jenkins’s qualities that make her successful. Factory Fastpitch Club Coach AJ Robinson, who has been coaching her for years, said, “She is a very hardworking player. You can see that she works on her skills outside of team practices, and this has helped her develop into a great power hitter.” Roberts shared his sentiment, “I have seen a lot of growth in Riley as a player and person. She always excelled on the playing field, but now she has become a team leader as one of our captains. We’re all expecting great things from her.” It’s safe to say her perseverance has paid off.

   As a reward for all her hard work, Jenkins will continue to participate in the sport she loves so much after high school. Earlier in the school year, she announced her commitment to Pace University. Roberts said, “I’m happy to hear that she will be moving up to the next level of play. The coaches at Pace are outstanding, and I’m sure Riley will be successful.” Jenkins said, “I start playing at the University next fall! I am really excited to play at the college level, and I get to live in New York!” There’s no doubt that this won’t be the last time we hear about her feats.

   Jenkins has been a keystone member of the school’s softball team. Robinson said, “I think it is awesome that Riley has been named the female student athlete of the month. UC High is a great high school with lots of talented student athletes, and the honor of receiving this recognition is well deserved.”