• June 3, 2020

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Camacho signs to play at UTPB - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Camacho signs to play at UTPB

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Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2020 5:44 pm

Sierra Camacho didn’t imagine that she would be staying this close to home to go to school.

But she’ll be doing exactly that to play softball at the next level.

The Odessa High senior put pen to paper as she made her decision final, signing on to play at UTPB with a ceremony on Saturday.

Camacho changed her mind after being amazed by what she saw at UTPB.

“I had no intentions to stay home. But then I met coach (Tiala) Tagaloa and coach (Lexes) Wilson and it was amazing and it just clicked right there,” Camacho said. “My high school coach (Rachel Pena) told me that I would know where the right campus was and where I was comfortable to go to. I visited a lot of different schools, but when I was at UTPB I felt at home.”

For the Odessa High pitcher, being able to continue her softball career at the collegiate level is blessing.

“I’ve worked hard,” Camacho said. “I’ve had a lot of support from my dad. It’s something that he’s looking forward to and it’s a great blessing. It’s an honor to play.”

Camacho plans on majoring in kinesiology.

She said she chose UTPB from her selection of schools that included Angelo State, Sul Ross State, Odessa College and Rogers State.

Camacho will be joining a program that showed signs of improving before the 2020 season was halted due to COVID-19 and was competitive in conference play.

The Falcons ended their short season at 15-15 overall, 3-5 in Lone Star Conference play.

“It’s amazing to join a team that’s building and getting better,” Camacho said. “I’ve seen their success and that’s something you just want to carry on and hope to do more when you get there. I’m ready to get going.”

She’ll also be playing in a conference that has no shortage of nationally competitive teams, including Texas A&M-Kingsville, which finished runner up at the 2019 NCAA Division II World Series, and West Texas A&M, which won a national title in 2014.

The Lone Star Conference also merged with the Heartland Conference, which saw the addition of other powerhouses.

“It’s exciting,” Camacho said. “It just helps drive me to get better and better. I think that’s something that drew me. The girls that are there are good and I feel like we’re ready to compete at the next level.”

The Odessa High softball season came to a halt in March due to COVID-19 and was eventually canceled along with the rest of the spring UIL sports.

Camacho and her teammates have since come to grips with the situation and reflected on the highs from their time together at Odessa High.

One of those memories includes last year’s 31-9 season, which included a run to the regional semifinals.

“I think what’s helped us is the run that we had my junior year,” Camacho said. “That helps and lets us know that we did something. It’s been hard, but you lean on your teammates and your families and now I get to see everyone and people that I haven’t seen in a couple of months because of softball. It’s a blessing in disguise, but it’s been hard.”

While there are plenty of senior athletes that didn’t get a chance to finish up their seasons and won’t continue to play in college, Camacho is thankful that she gets to continue to play.

“I think it’s amazing,” Camacho said. “I don’t feel ready to lace up my cleats for the last time. I’m looking forward to the next four years.”

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