A long journey home for a local resident


Sophomore Crystal Cano uses her strong offense and versatile defense to help the Falcons. The team is currently 18-12 overall and 11-4 in the South Coast Conference. Photo credit: Monica Gallardo

Monica Gallardo

“Family plays a big part. I love having my family come out and watch me play, ” sophomore Crystal Cano said. The psychology major has been playing softball for seven years and currently leads the Cerritos Falcons in home runs (10) and runs-batted-in (46).

Her home run total ranks her fifth in community colleges across the state and she is tied for fourth with the most RBIs.

The 19-year-old grew up watching college softball and was inspired by her sister to get on the field.

Assistant coach Jenel Guadagno said, “She’s definitely been a sparkplug for us in the hitting spot. She’s shaken up our lineup, hitting the ball hard and scoring runs when we need to and she’s all around a great kid and a great athlete. She definitely fits in well with our program.”

Despite being a local graduate from Norwalk High School, the road to Cerritos College was a tough one to endure.

“I went to a Division II school called Lynn University in South Florida. I got recruited my junior year of high school when we went to a showcase in Orlando,” she said. “My senior year I had an official visit to the school. I fell in love with the campus, met the coaches, met the girls so I was all in.”

Cano soon learned that she would need her family by her side to fulfill her enjoyment in playing the sport. “I was literally across the country from coast to coast so I was like, I need to go back home and find a school that is closer and where all my family can watch me play. You know, you only get so many years to play.”

After spending a season with the Fighting Knights, Cano decided it was time to come back home. With help from a former coach, she contacted Cerritos College’s head softball coach Kodee Murray and quickly worked to become a Falcon.

“My coaches back in Florida knew that I was missing home and they knew that I wanted to transfer. They tried every way possible to try to convince me to stay, but I just got on the phone with coach Murray and we did it within a week of transferring back.”

Despite her strong desire to return to her family, Cano was nervous to join the Cerritos Falcons softball team right before the season started. “I didn’t think I was going to be liked by the girls, didn’t think I was going to fit in, but after a while I got to know the girls more. I felt more comfortable and honestly I love the game. I love playing with the girls here at Cerritos.”

Due to being a private school with its own courses, most of Cano’s credits from Lynn University did not transfer back to Cerritos, meaning she would have to start over. She planned out her schedule with athletic counselor Mike Miles and with the help of Murray, has already found herself caught up in her classes.

“We have to turn in a grade-check and our coaches base our grades off of how many hours we have to complete in study hall,” Cano said. “So it’s good because it’s a requirement for me to come here and actually get my homework done, so it’s always academics first and then softball, that’s what’s going to get you to the university.”

She has received interest from schools such as California State Universities San Marcos and San Bernardino, but has yet to decide on her future and will take this experience into account when choosing where to transfer. “I gave myself a two-hour limit, that’s it, driving distance, not flying distance.”