Sports Profile

Paige Therrien

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 hugeasset. 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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