Campbell senior Alesia Ranches is a pioneer of sorts, becoming the first island athlete to play softball at Iowa State.
Ranches signed her national letter of intent Wednesday morning at a signing day event at the Elks Club. A full list of all the signees is available here.
Cyclone coaches saw Ranches play in a California tournament with her Running Rebels Gold club team during the offseason. Though Iowa State’s head coach later moved on to Minnesota, the staff never lost touch with Ranches, a Star-Advertiser All-State second-team outfielder last year.
As a shortstop this season, Ranches is batting .341 with an on-base percentage of .408, along with three home runs, 11 RBIs, 16 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Minnesota was still on her list of choices, but Iowa State measured up better on the ledger.
“Minnesota is much more competitive, so their offer to me was less than Iowa State,” said Ranches, who will get a full scholarship as a freshman. “The Iowa State campus is beautiful. I loved it. It’s so green. Everyone there is so nice. It’s family oriented.”
The plan, or hope, is to play in summer tournaments on the mainland.
“The competition is better and I’ll be facing more of the kind of pitchers I’ll be facing (in college). Pitchers throwing 66, 67 (mph) with movement,” Ranches said.
She had a full ride available from Cal State Bakersfield.
“They offered me a full four years, but the only reason I didn’t take that is they didn’t have my major, Biomedical Engineering,” Ranches said. “I want to develop it, do research and invent something new.”
Reigning Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State girls soccer player of the year Sunshine Fontes is set to leave the islands to attend UCLA in June.
The soccer program there has freshmen enter an early session to get their feet wet. The Pearl City senior will acclimate and continue to rehab her knee after suffering an ACL injury last season.
“I’m 11 weeks out of surgery and hopefully, I don’t have to redshirt, but I might have to,” she said. “I’m just keeping a positive mind-set no matter what because I’ll be back on the field in a couple of months, hopefully. It was devastating. It pretty much turned my life upside-down, but I think just keeping a positive mind-set helps me get through.”
Fontes is well aware of the importance of being patient, returning at full strength.
“It’s going to suck, but I don’t want to come back too early and risk re-tearing it. I miss soccer probably more than life,” she said. “It’s just all part of the game. Injuries happen. Setbacks happen. It just depends on how you respond.”