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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Fullerton College softball coach is hopeful for a “Speedy” return to action soon

Marian Mendoza, or “Speedy” as her team calls her, is the co-head softball coach at Fullerton College. Mendoza is entering her 11th season as the head coach and 22nd season overall for the Hornets.

She earned the 2019 Co-OEC Coach of the year and 2019 State Coach of the Year honors.

After having last season’s season taken from them, the FC softball team could potentially have to wait longer to play due to a recent surge in positive COVID cases in the area.

Governor Newsome put in a stay at home order for all counties in the purple tier and with an ICU capacity under 15 percent. Orange County is one of the purple tier counties here in Southern California that have been affected.

“I feel that the county moving to purple is needed to slow down contacting the virus. We have to remember to respect the law and help keep our county safe,” said Coach Mendoza.

LA Times map/zones for COVID-19 cases per Orange County City
LA Times map/zones for COVID-19 cases per Orange County City Photo credit: LA Times

As of December 5, 2020 Orange County had 82,887 confirmed cases, up 1,234 from just the day before. There have been a reported 1,603 total deaths, 17 more than the day before. Additionally, there have been 61,500 recoveries, that is 432 more than the day before.

The Los Angeles Times mapped out the cities and areas of Orange county. In Fullerton Ca, there have been 622 cases in the past 14 days. That is about 435.5 cases per 100,000 residents.

COVID-19 has put some fear in many people again due to the uncertainty of what the future entails. Fear of it being safe to go outside to shop for necessities and in the case of athletic programs, the fear of student-athletes contracting the virus while playing sports.

Mendoza said she is not fearful of returning to the field with her team. She believes that following the safety protocols as closely as possible would keep her and the team safe.

She also gave credit to the athletic trainers who are in charge of showing everyone involved the protocols. “We have amazing athletic trainers at Fullerton College [Juan Cuervas and Lorena Tarnay] that are helping us learn how to be safe and take all necessary precautions while being on campus,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza also said she believes that a season needs to be played this year, even if it is modified. The mental health of her student-athletes is very important to her and she witnessed how social distancing has affected the team in general. She added that not being able to have in-person interactions between teammates and coaches has been tough for the team.

Fullerton College Softball team huddled up at home plate.
Fullerton College Softball team huddled up at home plate. Photo credit: Fullerton College Softball Instagram

The Fullerton College softball team has not been on campus doing team conditioning despite them being allowed to since October.

Mendoza explained that she did not want to take part in team conditioning because she has athletes that reside out of state or out of the area so she did not want anyone to feel left out.

“With a roster of 35, it has been awesome to see them two times a week on Zoom. We have met with the team individually and definitely feel connected to all of our student-athletes,” Mendoza stated.

Mendoza said she is also definitely looking forward to seeing each of her student-athletes face to face at some point, even if it is a socially distanced interaction. The Hornets have recruited some solid athletes and they are excited to have them represent Fullerton College both in the classroom and on the field.

After the team’s sophomores lost about half of what was supposed to be their final junior college season in March, 11 of those sophomores returned after graduation for an opportunity to play a 3rd season with the Hornets. The CCCAA allowed athletes who lost their season due to COVID-19 not to lose a year of eligibility.

Right now the Hornets softball program, as well as the rest of the teams on campus are in stand-by mode because things can change in an instant. Mendoza remains hopeful that the team can return to action in the spring.

But once again, COVID-19 could have other plans for college athletics as a whole.

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