For some softball players when they begin playing on the college field, the game seems to be more sped up than compared to high school or travel ball. For sophomore BreOnna Castaneda of the University of Utah softball team, it was a struggle for her to get caught up to speed once she started playing in the Pac-12.
Castaneda grew up in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a small city located next to Albuquerque. She is one of five children, all of who have been or are currently involved in athletics. Her three brothers play baseball and her sister used to play softball.
“Our whole household is so competitive all of the time,” Castaneda said. “None of us like losing, and we get mad if we do.”
In coming to Utah from New Mexico, Castaneda said that the biggest change that she had to adapt to in her play was how fast the game is played in this league. This caused her to step up her game.
“I feel like I’m ready and more prepared for the fact that every time you step onto the field, it’s a dogfight,” Castaneda said. “From the very second competition begins to the very second it ends, the game is moving, and last year I feel like I was not ready for the speed of the game.”
Castaneda enjoys playing against talented players and teams, and she has learned from doing so how she can improve her own game. Every time she steps on the field with her team, she is prepared to battle against an opponent for the entire duration of the contest.
Castaneda, who was born strong-willed, according to her mother, Vanessa Castaneda, has always been independent and determined as well. The support she receives from her family and the competitiveness from her siblings has played a big part in helping her become the player she is today.
“Most of all, she is very inspiring to me, even as a mother, for the amount of self-determination and discipline that she has,” Vanessa said. “She is kind and caring of her teammates on and off the field. She really cares about them, and it is so impressive that she can keep up that quality with everything else that is going on in her life.”
As a utility player, Castaneda can help her team wherever it needs her. Right now, she is playing in the infield where she feels most comfortable. No matter where she is placed, she knows she can be a leader on the diamond and away from the dirt.
“I was voted as a captain this year, so one of my biggest goals is to be the best captain that I can be on and off the field,” Castaneda said. “I need to be there for my teammates and help them out with whatever they might need. I am working on being a leader in whatever areas that my teammates need me to be.”