Kelli Larson keeps team spirit alive

Paige Therrien, JRN 120 Contributor

Kelli Larson may be the most important player on Saddleback College’s softball team, and she doesn’t even get to wear a uniform.

“In a year I get to get out there again. I can’t wait because I already miss it so much,” the 19 year old says, her bright, celery-tinted eyes sparkling in the light. “I’m still part of the team though. I go to every single game and I coach first base.”

Larson, a Northern California native, has a major passion for softball. She played on Redding High School’s varsity softball team for three years, and even scored a CIF All League nomination. Right away, Larson knew fast-pitch was her calling. Last year, along with her parents and older twin sisters, Larsontook a colossal risk and moved her entire life to Southern California all so that she could play softball for the Gauchos.

Last year as a freshman, Larson started on the team, alternating between first base and centerfield, and turned out to be a huge asset. This year however, was an entirely different and distressing story. During a routine physical required for all athletes before their seasons, Larson’s physician discovered a heart murmur, an abnormal sound made by disordered blood flow in the heart.

“They found a hole in my heart. So I have to red shirt for a year so it can get better. But I’ll be back,” Larson says, almost nonchalantly.

Larson is determined to come back next season stronger than ever, and created a game plan for getting back in shape, even though that won’t be difficult since this self-proclaimed “lover of the outdoors” enjoys being active. She snowboards and even wakeboards when she finds time between playing softball, working at a fitness center, and studying as a full-time student[Larson] is a very mature, focused individual. who always gives everything her all, coach Nick Trani says. And softball isn’t the only thing Larson has serious ambition for.

“I want to become a nurse and then later, get my masters degree and become a nurse practitioner,” Larson says. Whatever she does in life, Trani says Larson always gives everything her all.

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