Miranda Amaral is a rarity and a great endorsement for Ohlone College athletics.
She spent the fall season marking opposing strikers as a soccer defender. Currently, she is a speedy role player on the powerful Renegades softball team.
Now that's a school year: Two tough sports. One great attitude. Strong student to boot.
But Amaral, a California High-San Ramon graduate and Five-Star Multitasker, takes it all in stride.
"Being a dual-sport athlete definitely is hard, but it just requires a lot of time management and prioritizing everything, like being a student first and then an athlete second," said Amaral, a business administration major.
It seems like every minute of Amaral's time is spoken for. Wednesday morning before softball practice, she was preparing to take an online test. The day before that, the softball team made the long trek to Fairfield to face Solano College and took a 5-4 win to improve to 26-8 on the season.
As soon as the softball playoffs wrap up, Amaral will switch gear and head over to the soccer pitch for summer training. She impressively started as a freshman defender last season.
"I like being a two-sport athlete because I go from one season on to the next season. Being able to continue sports nonstop is really fun, and I like it," she says.
Soccer is her strongest sport in college, she says, but growing up softball was a bigger priority. Her dad, Marty, played a big role throughout her childhood as her youth soccer coach and then her softball coach.
Amaral relishes playing for Ohlone women's soccer coach Larry Heslin.
"He's a great coach … He enjoys me as a player and really wants the best for me," she says of the man who also coached her at California as a soccer assistant.
Playing soccer and softball at Cal High in the powerful East Bay Athletic League allowed her to have an action-packed experience, full of life lessons.
"Cal High was fun," she says. "High school was more political than college, but I definitely enjoyed it. The girls are definitely a big thing. My teammates always helped me through it, to be two-sport athlete. Even if I was struggling they'd tell me, 'You have next season,' or 'You have soccer still,' so my teammates have always been a big factor."
Those who know Amaral best vouch for her character and drive.
"She is a wonderful person. She was a great student," said longtime soccer coach Lee Munson, who taught her at Pine Valley Middle School.
"She's a great kid," Ohlone softball coach Julie Marshall says.
She is also a frequent flyer as a courtesy softball runner.
"I'm a runner for a lot of people because I guess I'm one of the faster people," Amaral says. "Whenever someone gets on who's not as fast and they need someone to score so we can win the game, they'll put me in to run. I just run for them and sometimes I play second."
Now that's a student-athlete who makes a mark on a program. Make that a student-athlete, squared.