Commitment Feature: Jackie Guerrero, Giselle Lai, Tiana Smith, and Tiara Westbrook

Arcadia softball athletes commit to colleges! Go Apaches!

Harini Devaguptapu, Staff Writer

Entering a point in life where you are certain about what you want to do in the future is the most rewarding feeling. Students at Arcadia High School (AHS) can attest to that feeling –especially those who have committed to playing a sport in college. Four senior softball players are extremely passionate about what they are doing and are truly excited for the upcoming journey they are going to take, continuing their athletic pursuits in college! Jackie Guerrero is heading off to Briarcliff, Giselle Lai to Claremont McKenna, Tiana Smith to the University of Maine, and Tiara Westbrook to Oregon University. This article will take a dive into their journeys to playing college softball!

Lai and Westbrook both developed their interest for softball at a young age. Lai decided to focus on softball at the age of eight; Westbrook has been playing softball since she was seven-years-old; Smith has always enjoyed playing softball since they were about four and has always wanted to play college. Since then, they have not regretted their decision, and a lot of amazing things have happened in their life because of this. 

“[I] have had many great experiences with the game and it brings me a lot of joy to play even with the ups and downs,” Westbrook shared. 

“Choosing to focus on softball has been the best decision of my life. This sport has given me more opportunities than I could have ever imagined. I’ve made so many life-long friendships and met so many influential people. Through softball, I met numerous college coaches that gave me the opportunity to continue my athletic career at their school,” Lai shared. 

Guerrero has experienced all the different sides to playing softball, and appreciates every aspect of it. There have been difficult times, but they have persevered through them. 

“I like to describe my softball experience as a roller coaster.” Guerrero said. “You always have your ups and downs; not all days are bright or the best. But that’s what builds you as an athlete and even with yourself. Especially with this game being 99% mental all the time. There were times where I lost myself, but yet found myself. This game is a gift though, as it has given me new friendships, new families, memories, and now has taken me further in my future career.”

Playing softball in college is a big change, and our students are ready to meet this new chapter in their lives head on. They are able to do this so confidently because they genuinely admire the sport and are looking forward to the new atmosphere. 

“I chose to continue playing in college because I truly love the sport,” Westbrook said. “I’m looking forward to playing in college and playing at the highest level and seeing all the hard work pay off from when I was younger to now.”

I like being in the game and the competition and the speed of the game. I’m looking forward to playing at a higher level where the game will be even faster,” shared Smith. 

“Playing in college has always been a dream of mine since I was a little girl, because I wanted to play on the biggest stage in the world with the best of the athletes,” Lai said. “Playing in college gives me the opportunity to continue the sport I love for another four years. I look forward to starting fresh with a new field, new uniform, and new team. I can’t wait to play on a highly competitive team and hopefully win some national championships!”

“I chose to play in college because softball will always be in my blood and heart”, Guerrero said. “Having an amazing opportunity with new teammates and new coaches that believe in me and getting to gain more experience along my journey. My parents and I have worked so hard to get here, and these are the results of the hard work we all put in.”

We all have different reasons as to why we love something the way that we do. This is what fuels us and gives us the right motivation to work for something. For Lai and Westbrook, this motivation came from softball. 

“My favorite thing about softball is being with my teammates and all of us playing and competing to the best of our abilities while still having fun and enjoying ourselves,” Westbrook shared.

“My favorite thing about playing softball is being surrounded by my best friends. I have been playing with my teammates for six years and the relationships I have made with them are unmatched. I get to hang out, travel, and bond with them every weekend, all while playing the sport we love,” Lai expressed.

“My favorite part of playing this game would be the memories you gain. Even when you have those bad experiences, you learn from everything. It’s another place I can call home away from home. Also all the friendships and relationships you get to have with people who love doing the same thing as you.”

“I like being in the game and the competition and the speed of the game,” Smith said.

These students have been working extremely hard at AHS to get to where they are. They have been playing here for quite a while, and they are going to miss being in their team. Although, they are looking into the future with high spirits, and hopes for their future in softball.

“What I am going to miss about Arcadia softball is my family cheering me on, and ofcourse the beautiful view of the mountains.” Guerrero shared. “I am looking forward to breaking records and going to a championship with Briar Cliff University. Also looking forward to coaching at a college level in the future.”

 “I’ll miss my teammates from AHS softball,” said Smith.

At this moment in their lives, the players are certain about their choices and are filled with motivation, and are ready to inspire others as well.

“I would like to thank my family for all the sacrifices they’ve made and for God’s guidance.” Guerrero shared. “I especially want to thank myself for everything I did to get here. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or be what you want to be. Make it happen yourself and believe in yourself always.”

These students have worked really hard these past four years to get to where they are. We wish them the best of luck in the following years and hope they will have the best time playing for their new teams.

Photo by Veronica Meyers