By Jeremy McDonald
Receiving an All-American award is an amazing feat by definition, but an Academic All-American? That's something else.
Current Sierra College student-athlete and Casa Roble graduate Kaitlyn Garcia has done just that by being named by the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association to the Academic All-American team.
“I’m really excited for that and it shows that I worked so hard and that I’m able to accomplish something big like this,” said Garcia. “I don’t know, it’s just nice to hear that I got that.”
Bolstering a 3.49 GPA and majoring in Kinesiology, Garcia defines the term ‘student-athlete’ in her opinion as being able to succeed off and on the field.
“Just someone who is very dedicated, hard working and that can show it in the classroom but also on the field,” described Garcia.
Head coach Darci Brownell says it’s what they are all about at Sierra
“We really hope that they’re all Academic All-Americans,” said Brownell. “That’s what we focus on the most, what they can do in the seats not as much as they do in the cleats.
“So it’s good that we got Kaitlyn as a Academic All-American, that’s what they all should strive for.”
Brownell also added that the message it sends is that academics are just as important as athletics.
“Kaitlyn is going to get a scholarship, and with her being an Academic All-American, she’s going to get more academic money and that’s going to help her family out,” said Brownell.
“That’s really going to set the bar high and that’s what it’s about academically.”
Like the classroom, Garcia has also succeeded on the softball field.
In 2014, Garcia received the California Community College Athletic Association Most Valuable Player award after going 2-3 and batting in three RBIs as part of the Wolverines rally to capture the State Championship title.
“That was a big accomplishment right there,” Garcia said. “The weekend before I got hit in the face at the Super Regionals and then coming back and saying ‘I’m not going to let this injury take the best of me, I want to come and finish'."
The injury itself, described Garcia, was just soft tissue damage.
In 2015, Garcia is a 4-2 pitcher with one save and holds a 1.75 ERA in 11 appearances on the mound. From her third base position, the sophomore is batting .319 with 35 runs batted in for Sierra.
“Just keep with the same game plan,” said Garcia on her success. “Work hard give it my all during games and put everything out there. Just act as a team and rely on everybody.”
The sophomore who plays like she’s six-feet-tall is still uncertain where she’ll be in the fall, but one thing is for certain.
She’ll give it her all.