Ashton O'Halloran

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Being a college athlete is extremely strenuous on any student’s studies and personal life, so playing two sports at a college level while maintaining good grades would seem almost impossible to most, but not sophomore Denisse Martinez.

Martinez plays volleyball in the fall and softball in the spring at Mesa while keeping her 3.56 grade point average.

“I wouldn’t say it is hard being a dual athlete as much as I would say it is hard to stay focused and organized while doing sports. When you want something really bad, you always find a way,” she said.

Having played softball for nine years and volleyball for eight, Martinez makes the yearly transition effortlessly. Although the rules and regulations for each sport are completely different, the mental preparations and the necessary teamwork stem from the same diligent mindset she possesses.

“It does not take that much to switch from one sport to another. As an athlete I carry a love for both sports, so I don’t think about it, I just feel it,” Martinez said.

Originally from Chula Vista, Martinez says her parents are her biggest supporters and back her up 100 percent. Along with her parents comes the support of her teammates and coaches and her dedication to each individual sport at its given time. She lives this double sport life for no other reason then her genuine passion for the games.

“Completely giving myself to sports, every practice, every game, and everything in between.that’s the energy that playing sports gives me. It’s like being recharged for whatever is next,” said Martinez.

Staying charged up is something she clings to; at only 5-foot-1-inch, Martinez cannot solely rely on physical attributes like many athletes do. The connotation between being tall and being a good volleyball player follows her everywhere, and instead of taking it negatively, she uses it to fuel her fire.

“Volleyball is a boost of confidence. Someone my size usually can’t hang with the tall girls, I have to say its very satisfying that I can,” she said.

Height does not play much of a factor when spring creeps around and softball preseason begins. Martinez plays behind the plate as the catcher and in the infield at third base or shortstop. She received the coach’s award and best defensive honors at the end of the 2009 season.

“I enjoy playing volleyball very much, but my heart belongs to softball,” she said.

Martinez plans to transfer to the University of San Diego next year and hopes to continue her passion for softball there.

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