Jenni Solano: Keep the Family Close

Jenni Solano saving the ball in matchup against Mt. San Jacinto.
Jenni Solano saving the ball in matchup against Mt. San Jacinto.
Daryl Peterson

Born on Oct. 6, 2003, in Whittier CA, Cerritos College Beach volleyball player Jenni Solano was introduced to the sport of volleyball at a young age.

At five years old Jenni was put into the sport by her father Fernando, but before she decided to stick with volleyball she tried out a variety of other sports before she ultimately decided volleyball was the sport for her.

“I started as soon as I could, my dad put me in but started me a year earlier because he wanted me to play volleyball, I was the youngest one that started,” said Solano.

“I was trying out as many sports as I could, I did football, basketball, soccer, swim, tennis, everything, and volleyball was the last one but that’s the one that stuck with me the most” Solano explained.

Jenni played volleyball at La Mirada High School and was coached by former Cerritos College coach Linda Reich.

Although she found some success in high school she views this time of her volleyball career as nothing too special.

Solano felt she didn’t feel too committed to the sport until she played at a college level where she found a home at Cerritos.

But before she committed to the school the world was put on a pause in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which put Jenni’s future at a halt.

During this time Jenni had questions about her volleyball career going forward, these questions led to a decision as to whether she would continue to play or quit.

“Before joining I thought of quitting volleyball, I was thinking, ‘my career is done’, I just gave up, I never considered quitting volleyball until the pandemic but Coach Kari (Hemmerling) or her assistant coach at the time asked me to join (Cerritos) and at the time I wasn’t too sure but I’m glad I did,” said Solano.

Jenni’s tenure with Cerritos started in 2021, during the indoor seasons she was given some opportunities in her first couple of seasons to showcase her talent but it wasn’t until the newest beach volleyball program was introduced to Cerritos that Solano was able to show her full potential.

“It was a clean slate, with the indoor season being over I took the off-season as a chance to get better, I just feel like I excelled in beach volleyball more, I took the opportunity to showcase my skill and be better in beach volleyball”, said Solano.

Jenni Solano spike attempt in matchup against Bakersfield (Michael Delgado)

Solano has four siblings named Saidee, Eric, Steven, and Max, all being close in age she shares a close bond with them all even as they are all getting older.

“Now I would say we are still pretty close, since I’m in college I’ve become more independent, so I may not see them as often, I think it’s also different now because when we were younger we would always fight and now that we’re older, were more mature and we are helping and learning from each other,” said Solano.

Growing up Solano remembers her childhood as a fun time in her life, even though she experienced the separation of her parents as a young teenage girl she says she never felt it ever affected her upbringing.

Her parents separated going into her freshman year of high school but Jenni saw this moment in her life as something that was for the better, Although she wasn’t thrilled about it she knew it was something that was coming but appreciated both her parents Fernando and Olga for handling it the way they did and not letting it affect the way her parents raised her and her siblings.

“My parents separated early on but I never felt anything negative, I still felt love from my mom and my dad, they didn’t let it affect how they raised us which I appreciate so I was still able to have a good childhood.

“I was never happy about it of course but I knew it was gonna happen but it was for the better because even now it’s not a hard topic for me to talk about,” said Solano.

What helped Jenni through this tough time was her siblings, being able to have others to rely on during times like this was crucial for her, she and her siblings saw this as a moment to stay strong together.

As Jenni is approaching the end of her time at Cerritos College, she thanks and appreciates the team and the college as a whole.

Solano is grateful for the relationships she gained during her time at Cerritos and expresses how she’ll miss the environment and culture that was built in Cerritos.

“A big thank you to my coach and the trainers, all the friendships I’ve made, I’ve learned and matured a lot, I feel like now I’m ready to transfer to a four-year thanks to Cerritos, all the resources they had were so accessible to me,” Solano expressed.

Volleyball is a sport that changed Jenni’s life, it created friendship, family, love, and loyalty. The sport made a special bond with her father that she’ll always be thankful for.

“It’s special to me because it created a different type of bond with my dad, he was my first coach and has always been my number one supporter at my games, and even when he’s not at my games, he’s always talking me through all the adversity that I experience as a student athlete,” said Solano.

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About the Contributor
Michael Delgado
Michael Delgado, Editor in Chief
Michael Delgado is the Editor in Chief for Talon Marks. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys listening to Hip Hop and R&B and hopes to work for Fox Sports in the near future.
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