UCSD softball player earns Arthur Ashe Junior Sports Scholar honor

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SAN DIEGO — Mikaila Reyes has successfully mastered how to balance the busy life of a scholar-athlete and it’s earned her national recognition.

A walk-off single to punch the Tritons ticket to the Division II championship last season ranks pretty high among Reyes’ career highlights at UC San Diego.

“There were bases loaded, I had a full count and we’d faced that pitcher the year before and it didn’t go so well and so to be able to come back from all of that and be able to succeed in that situation was amazing,” said Reyes.

Her most recent highlight came off the field when the senior was named a 2020 Arthur Ashe Junior Sports Scholar — an honor awarded to minority student athletes who’ve excelled in athletics and academics.

“I just really appreciate the holistic evaluation of each individual because they didn’t only just look at school, they didn’t only look at athletics but they also looked at work in the community and really focused on diversity and inclusion,” said Reyes.

Reyes chose a physiology and neuroscience major with a cognitive science minor. She plans to work in a research lab upon graduation and continue applying for med school, where she hopes to become an oncologist.

“Being a doctor is about helping people when they need it the most, not helping people when it’s easy for you,” she said. “So to see the sacrifices they’re making, I’m still very drawn to this profession because that’s what I want to do, I want to be able to help when people need it most.”

That help also extends to the softball field, where Reyes started every game the last two seasons for the Tritons. She compiled a career batting average of .257 with 23 doubles and 10 home runs.

“To have that physical outlet, to be able to go and be outside for a few hours a day, to have that social interaction to be with my team but at the same time working to physically exhaust myself or to physically push me to keep going, it really helped to provide me with some endurance to bring back to my academics,” said Reyes.

And it’s that kind of balance that’s Reyes says she’s learned how to juggle well.

“There’s a big time commitment for school, it’s a time commitment for softball, for community service, for research lab and just finding a way to succeed in all of these fields has been a very proud accomplishment for me,” said Reyes.

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