Many are called in this life but few are chosen. Sarina Rios would be the first to tell you that, believe it. She’s put in the work, parlayed her excellent natural physical tools into a four-year run at EHS, and now is set for the next adventure.
After the hurricane subsided, the recently graduated slugger reflected on just how rare it is for former high school players such as herself to move on to the next level.
“Right, it’s crazy to think about, but it’s happening and I am so happy,” said the All-Valley pick who will attend Prairie View A&M near Houston to continue her softball story. “I am looking forward to improving, working hard, meeting new people, all of it!”
Rios helped lead the Lady Bobcats to 30 wins and the best playoff run in school history in 2010, and now she’s set to try her hand at college competition.
“I took awhile to make up my mind, it was my decision and I thought about it a lot,” she said, adding that she picked Prairie View over Incarnate Word, Clarendon College and a host of other teams vying for her long-ball talents and steady first-base mitt. “I mean, I’m the one who is going up there, moving away from home, and I feel great about it; I fell in love with the campus and really enjoyed orientation when I went.”
As stated, so many good high school players find that the run is over when their team drops out of the playoffs. But Rios knew that she was going to extend her career, somewhere, somehow. And as confident as she is, has always been, there are some jitters jangling around her nerve center these days.
“Now that it’s here, six weeks away, wow, I am a little scared,” she laughed. “This is something I have been planning for all my life, I was around sports all the time growing up, like, I was six months old and going to football games. The thing I want to do is go up there and represent the Valley, I want people to know that we have a lot of good talent down here.”
Though she will be living, studying, and playing so far from family and friends, Rios has always been the intrepid sort who sought to experience everything new. She will certainly get the chance now.
“There were not a lot of Hispanics up there when I went,” she noted, speaking of Prairie View, a school with a healthy enrollment of blacks. “But that’s cool, I want the chance to meet new people and experience new things. My roommate will be Darlene Salinas, she’s from La Joya, so there’s a little Valley touch right there. I’m ready to live on my own and I am kind of glad I won’t know anyone, that would have been too comfortable, you know?”
The PV softball season cranks up in earnest in the spring, which means that the Edinburg star will get a chance to settle in to classes and dorm life while working out hard in the fall.
“They stress team unity a lot, and I am used to that because we did that with EHS,” she commented. “I like my coaches and it seems that the program is in rebuilding mode, so I get to be a part of all that. I just couldn’t be happier with things right now.
“So many girls never get to play again after high school, it’s not like everyone gets to keep going. I am lucky to have had the experiences, going upstate to elite tournaments helped me get some exposure and measure myself against the best, so now I have the opportunity. I am going to make sure and take advantage.”
During the recent season, in which she hit five home runs and was at the fore of the unit’s road to glory, Rios realized that all the blood, sweat and tears were starting to pay off.
“I used to have to swing hard to get the ball to the outfield,” she admitted. “But this year I was just swinging easy and the ball started to take off to places, well I didn’t know that some of those home runs were going to go so far. I need to get up there and listen to the coaches, make the improvements they want to see. Like I said, this is the chance of a lifetime and I am not going to let it pass me by.”