When you hear the phrase “student-athlete”, you may think about someone training or competing for their sport or you might think of them working hard in the classroom, but for senior Kendall Marinesi, she takes it one step further.
Each year, Regals softball holds their annual Ventura County Special Olympics Softball Clinic and Marinesi took it upon herself to plan the event. (Marinesi: far left in photo)
“I have a really close relationship with Special Olympics because I have an autistic cousin,” Marinesi said. “So when I hear anything about Special Olympics, I am all for it. I took charge of it and tried to get as many people as I could to go and help out.”
Marinesi and the Regals hosted four events that were included in a skills challenge. The Special Olympics athletes competed in baserunning, throwing, hitting and fielding. Seven Regals were at the clinic and split up to help coach the different events.
“The athletes have so much fun with it,” Marinesi said. They want to participate in everything we have for them. “You have some that are shy, but when they see other athletes compete, they went to get out there and do the same.”
After the skills challenge, the athletes were given medals for their performances. On top of the skills challenge, the athletes also competed in a tournament game. The Regals got to watch and help with the game, while conversing with the athletes.
“It is very rewarding,” Marinesi said. “It was really cool to talk with them and hear about how much fun they had with it and what they enjoyed doing. Then you look back at the emotions that the athletes have – the smiles on their faces – what is better than that.”
The athletes have made a big impression on Marinesi and she wants to continue working with Special Olympics and people with disabilities after college.
“I want to get a teaching credential and work with special education and regular education because I think it’s a different environment,” Marinesi said. “It is another way to bond with students.
"People have pre-conceived notions, that they might not be able to comprehend and not have conversation, but that is not the case. I want more people to appreciate who these athletes and people are. They are all amazing and work so hard and it is really close to my heart.”
Marinesi is going into her senior year and is the starting third baseman for the Regals. A triple-threat, with her glove, bat and grades, she is a National Fast Pitch Association (NFCA) All-West Region First Team honoree, was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Frist Team, the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III Player of the Week (March 13th), an Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete and All-SCIAC First Team last year.