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Class of 2011

Michelle Harvey

College: CMC

Major: Psychology

Senior Thesis: " "They Need to Understand How to Educate Her": The Parent Experience in Special Education"

Off-Campus Study: Nantes, France 

Years of Play: 4 (2008 - 2011)


2007-2008 - First Team All-SCIAC, First Team All-Region, Rookie of the Year (team award)

2009-2010 - Second Team All-SCIAC, Third Team All-Region, Team Captain, Coach's Award (team award)

2010-2011 - First Team All-SCIAC, Second Team All-Region, NFCA Scholar Athlete, Team Captain, MVP (team award)

Current Profession/Vocation/Life’s Work: I'm currently at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN working on a Master's Degree in Special Education (Severe Disabilities), and am also working towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. After finishing in fall 2013, I'll most likely be teaching special education in Tennessee for a few years before bringing my new-found linedancing skills and love of the South back to California!

Reflections on your Athena Softball days: Being a part of the Athena Softball family absolutely defined my collegiate experience.  I will always value the relationships made with teammates and coaches, the memories made on and off the field, and how rewarding it felt to work so hard for something and see it pay off.  I learned so much about myself and life (as cliche as it sounds, it's true!), all while getting to play a game that I love.

Words of wisdom for current Athenas: Tina, Kirstin, Scottie, Jess, Erika, and Steph have already said everything that first came to my mind and phrased it much better than I could have, so my advice will be short and sweet: cherish your teammates and the experience, and let the little things go. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself simply by playing a game, so practice hard, play hard, and bring home a championship!


Kara Mantani

College: Claremont McKenna

Major: Biology

Senior Thesis: An ecological survey of the displacement of Western Gray Squirrels (Sciurus griseus) by Eastern Fox Squirrels (Sciurus niger) in the Claremont, California area

Years of Play: 4 (2008-2011)

Awards: 2008 Coaches Award (Team Award)

             2010 All-American Scholar Athlete

             2011 All-American Scholar Athlete

Current Profession/Vocation/Life’s Work: After college I started working as an aide at a physical therapy clinic in Redwood City.  I am accumulating clinical internship hours for a year before starting graduate school in Fall of 2012 to start working towards my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. The entire fall of 2011 was spent applying to graduate programs, and the next few months will revolve around work, choosing a graduate school, and enjoying time with family before uprooting to a new school.

Reflections on your Athena Softball days:

Softball consumed a major part of my college experience in the best possible way.  Now that I look back on it, it was better preparation for “the real world” than anything else I have ever done.  There is no better place than sport to showcase one’s strengths and especially your weaknesses. In order to help the team, I learned how to recognize and capitalize on my strengths and how to accept and improve upon my weaknesses. I had some amazing personal moments in softball that forced me to recognize my own ability to perform in pressure situations. Reflecting on my coaches and teammates, it amazes me how a common goal can create such a strong bond between so many people and very different personalities. Athena softball created some unlikely friendships that will now last a lifetime. The amount of love, time, and energy committed to Athena softball has made it a part of me and my fellow alumni forever. I can guarantee that long after our names are off the roster, we will still feel like a part of the team.

Words of wisdom for current Athenas:

During my college softball career, I learned a lot of lessons and was offered a ton of advice. The three little pieces of wisdom that stuck with me came from three very different people, and I still draw on them in my life today. I thought it would be fitting to offer you a little wisdom that came from a few people wiser than me.

The first was from Chris, who simply said: “Expect the spectacular, ask for a miracle, and be wide awake enough to see it when it happens.”

The second was from my dad, who went with me every day of winter break to work out before hell week. My junior year we were out training for the run test, and he told me to Push 5. His mantra was that if you push yourself above and beyond for five minutes a day, you will be absolutely amazed at how much you are actually capable of achieving. I trained extremely hard an extra five minutes a day starting that year, and as Coach can attest to, I stopped being the player who they pinch ran for, and started being used as a pinch runner.

The third thing that has really stuck with me came from Coach in one of her well-chosen Friday night readings. She read us a passage that talked about “the game” and how “the game” of softball, or any sport, knows no color or race. The game of softball also does not distinguish between nonstarters and starters, or freshman and seniors. The fun thing about softball is that any person at any moment in a game has the ability to go up to the plate, or take the field, and absolutely make a difference.


Gizelle Pera

College: Claremont McKenna College

Major: Biology

Senior Thesis:  Canopy Demographics at the Firestone Reserve, Costa Rica

Off Campus Study: Studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador, and focused on Spanish and Environmental Science while shadowing a local dentist.

Years of Play: 4 (2008-2011)


2009: NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete, 2nd Team All-SCIAC

2010: NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete, 2nd Team All-SCIAC, 2nd Team All-Region, Offensive Player of the Year (Team Award), ESPN Academic All-District 1st Team, Team Captain

2011: NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete, Team Captain

Current Profession/Vocation/Life’s Work:

 I just graduated from dental school at UCLA, and I am now a resident dentist at the VA Long Beach. So now I'm seeing quadruple the volume of patients I saw in dental school (so from 2 patients a day now to 8-10- yikes), and it's a little overwhelming. The transition into the real world is rough, no summer/winter/spring breaks anymore! I think I've developed the right tools to get a knack for it pretty soon, though, from what I've learned in school, from playing softball, and just from growing up.

I still have a bad case of wanderlust- in the past couple years I've wandered from Brazil to Honduras to Thailand to Belize and Guatemala, and I'm hoping to get to Fiji for a dental mission trip. And then go everywhere in Africa. Or Iceland. Or hike the whole Appalachian Trail. I don't know. Maybe I'll drag Kat or Mel along with me.

Reflections on your Athena Softball days:

 My softball teammates were the first group of people who made me feel comfortable and confident being exactly the competitor that I am. The upperclassmen never held me back or thought I was too bold or extreme as a freshman. By instead encouraging my “craziness”, they allowed me to play my best and eventually become a backbone for our team’s energy during practice and games. Being accepting of your team as equals- whether senior or freshman- will create a welcoming environment for integrity and unity and will ultimately lead to a more successful team. I saw the huge importance of this during my four years of play and ensured that this special aspect of our team be preserved and passed down to future Athena teams.

For these reasons, my teammates are STILL my best friends. I still send them postcards all the time, and we still make the time to catch up and see each other, whether it's a big event (Kara's wedding Sept 2015- so excited!), or when you need a place to stay (BK hosting me in Seattle before an interview) or just to hang out (a day in NYC with the golden retriever herself, Megan Turtles Morris). These girls are my lifelong friends, and I wouldn't have found them if I hadn't become an Athena.

Some fond memories:
  • Riding shot-gun in the Gerry van for four years strong (I'm so sad to hear you're leaving, Gerry!)
  • When Coach "fried" her hair at the salon on Sunday before our Monday practice. We had just lost a bad game and we all knew we were going to get scolded that day. Her hair stuck straight up in the air when she was yelling at us and I remember thinking "wow, it looks like her hair could be on fire!" It took us everything we could to not burst out laughing.
  • Making NCAA's for the first time and getting to travel to Texas, and spending the day on the River Walk and trying on sombreros and headdresses with Kat, Mel and Misch.
  • Singing Shambala on the plane, and accidentally spilling my Ginger Ale on Kat on every team flight we've been on together. Every. Team. Flight. It might be because Kat is a ginger? I've actually never thought about that until just now.

Words of Wisdom for current Athenas:

Enjoy every moment you play. Even if it’s for a 6:00 AM weightlift or a “Do or Die” drill we’ve done hundreds of times, appreciate it. Value that you will become a better player for doing so, and that you will develop confidence and perseverance on and off the field. Play to your strengths: know what type of gamer you are and how you play your best. Show your teammates how competitive, and determined you are from the get-go, and everyone will feed off your energy.  From Fall Ball your freshman year, to the last play your senior year, is equally significant. There is no such thing as being a freshman who is too intense or cares too much. Each year you play is unique and special: you only have one season to succeed with this exact group of coaches, players, and attitudes. Know how important being an Athena softball player is to you, and that the sacrifices you will make in order to be truly dedicated are well worth it. Embrace the fact that softball will be your life. Your teammates “are your social life and your future bridesmaids” (as Coach would always say), they are your confidantes, and they are the people you ceaselessly play and fight for. Classes, parties, relationships, and even some teammates come and go, but Athena softball is the rock of your college years. Finally, realize that you are a part of something great. You have the opportunity to represent an incredible school and compete with your best friends. Fight to maintain the Athena softball dynasty: a respected, relentless, tight-knit team that truly plays for each other and wins championships.

Anything Else:

Duck, Duck, Duck, SQUIRREL!

Class of 2009

Stephanie McCarty

College:  Claremont Mckenna College

Major:  Dual degree in Biology and Chemistry. 

Senior Thesis:  An examination of Conformational Changes Induced by Methylation From a Less Stable DNA-Drug Complex between 7-Aminoactinomycin D and the Cre Sequence. 

Years of Play:  4


2006-2007:  2nd Team ALL SCIAC

2007-2008:  Team Captain

Current Profession/Vocation/Life’s Work:

 Physician, Yale-New Haven Hospital Dept of Internal Medicine

It seems like all I've done since CMS softball is work (haha). I graduated medical school and am now in my last year of residency. In the mean time, I've played on 2 (count 'em, 2!) championship intramural slowpitch softball teams. I also met my fiancee and am getting married August 2016!

Reflections on your Athena Softball days:

I still remember my recruiting visit vividly: I took 2 days off from school and flew 3,000 miles to visit this school that my club coach told me about, but that I had never heard of before. I was pretty dead-set on not enjoying my visit that much, since I had already made up my mind that I wanted to attend a different school closer to home and with a more recognizable name (on the East Coast, anyway). Everything changed for me the moment I walked up to the softball field. It was a perfect October day in Southern California, and you could see the mountains in the distance clearly. The field was gorgeous, and I was blown away. When I met the girls on the team, I got this immediate sense that there was something special about the way these girls interacted with each other. There was a connection that was deeper than teammates; they were a family.

Athena Softball defined my college experience. While CMC (and Mudd and Scripps, too, I'm sure) offers so much in terms of opportunities and education, every colorful and amazing moment I had in college was as a member of this team. You build a new family as a member of this team, and I couldn't have asked for more.

A fond memory or two:

I couldn't pick just one. Things that come to mind include rivalry games, our brief Spring Break trips, and (oddly enough) shuttle runs. Or maybe it was being done with shuttle runs? Hm. 

Words of wisdom for current Athenas:   

Throughout my four years as an Athena, this was my experience: Athena softball is a family. Through victory and defeat, on and off the field, road trips and plane trips, Conference Championships and National Championships, you are supported by and supporting a tight-knit network of players, coaches, and alumni. My advice to current players is to always go the extra mile, because it demonstrates that you care and that you're committed to your Athena family. Whether it's volunteering to host prospective students, doing an extra rep in your workouts, or being there for a teammate in need, go the extra mile. You'll be amazed at the level of success you achieve, and the strength of the relationships that you cultivate.

Cherish every moment. Show up for your teammates - on and off the field. The effort that you put in will pay off (and then some) both in the accomplishments that you achieve and the bonds that you form. 

Anything Else:

Go Athenas! If y'all find a way to the 'ship, know that you'll have alumni on the sideline going nuts for you. Welcome to the family!


Shannon McKenna

College:  Harvey Mudd College

Major: General Engineering

Senior Thesis: Vibration Propagation through Spacecraft Panels (senior clinic project sponsored by Space Systems/Loral)

Off Campus Study:  Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile; Santiago, Chile

Years of Play: 4 (2005-2009)

Awards: Coaches Award, 2006 (Team Award)

Current Profession/Vocation/Life’s Work: Senior Associate at ATS Consulting – we are a small consulting firm of about 10 people that do noise and vibration studies for trains. We travel around the country to different transit systems to help them make sure their trains aren’t too intrusive to their neighbors.

What You Have Done Since CMS Softball Days:  After I graduated in 2009, I took three months to travel and visit with friends before settling into my first job. Six years later I am with the same company in Pasadena and still learning a lot. Because I was enjoying my job but wanted a new opportunity, I decided to pursue my master’s degree through Stanford University’s part-time, distance learning program. After three years of homework and studying on nights and weekends, I’ll finish my Masters of Science degree in electrical engineering next month! It turns out slow-pitch softball wasn’t for me, but I do play in a tennis league in my spare time.

Reflections on your Athena Softball days: At our past softball Alumni game we reflected on how it is a rare opportunity to be part of a group that is working together and challenging each other to be their best. Learning how to find and step-up to challenges is something that has served me beyond softball, and in work especially. I think I also learned what it means to be a teammate, and that is an irreplaceable experience. I owe a debt of gratitude to the team for giving me that experience.

A fond memory or two: That moment when you are on the softball field and look up and see a huge blue sky and the mountains in the background and realize that you are lucky enough to get to play softball every afternoon just because you want to. Also, when Coach tells you to go to the batting cages and “swing up a lather”.

Words of wisdom for current Athenas:   Playing softball in college is both an opportunity and a privilege – but definitely not a chore. Keeping this perspective helped me get the most out of the team and the experience every day I showed up at the field.

Anything else: You get out of it what you put into it. Don’t be afraid to put too much in.


Jessica Vaughn

College:  Scripps College

Major:  Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture with a focus on Religious Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies. 

Senior Thesis:  An examination of the London Missionary Society’s effects on literacy and education for the Khoikhoi people in Cape Town, South Africa during the 1800s. 

Off Campus Study:  Studied abroad in Florence, Italy focusing her coursework on Humanities and Italian. 

Years of Play:  4


2005-2006:  1st Team All-SCIAC, Rookie of the Year (Team Award)    

2006-2007:  Defensive Player of the Year (Team Award)

2007-2008:  Most Valuable Player (Team Award)

2008–2009:  NFCA Scholar Athlete, CMS Athlete of the Year (Departmental Award), Co- Most Valuable Player (Team Award)

Current Profession/Vocation/Life’s Work:

My life post-graduation has been a whirlwind of excitement and discovery. Since graduation, I have taken a cross country road trip with three of my closest college friends, moved to Sri Lanka for nine months to do an English Teaching Assistantship on a Fulbright Scholarship, coached the Sujatha Vidyalaya girls basketball team in Sri Lanka and started an after school English club, explored Malaysia, the Maldives, and India, developed an affinity for spicy food, accepted a position as an Americorps member, and moved my little sister into college. I am currently living in Boston, doing my Americorps year of service with Tenacity, a non-profit sports and literacy after school program for inner-city kids in the Boston area. I love my job and it has inspired me to continue working in education in the future.

Reflections on your Athena Softball days:

Since I began playing softball at the age of five, it has been my life. The field became my safe space. I love everything about the game; diving for a ball in the hole, digging out a triple in the gap, the excitement of being up to bat with the bases loaded, and most importantly, the bond that you form with your teammates. I always had good friends on my teams throughout high school, but it wasn’t until I became an Athena that I understood how a real team can click. I know that I will be friends with my Athena family for the rest of my life.

Words of wisdom for current Athenas:   

  • Leave everything you have on the field. Every practice, every scrimmage, every game. Put out your best effort for your coaches, your teammates, and yourself.
  • When you come to the field, leave the rest of your life behind. It’s a special feeling to switch into softball mode and be able to focus all of your energy into one thing that you love for the next few hours. Use it as a chance to better your game and yourself and forget about any troubles or stresses you are feeling that day. I have not found any other outlet in life that compares.
  • Work hard for your teammates. Be honest, responsible, and dedicated for them. I don’t remember every important game or play, but I do remember all of my teammates, my sisters. The experiences you have together will stay with you forever. Athena Rage!


Erika Weingart 

College:  Claremont McKenna College

Major:  Dual degree in Psychology and Government. 

Senior Thesis:  An Examination of Character Education in American Public Schools.  

Off Campus Study:  Studied abroad in Tokyo, focusing on language and culture.

 Years of Play:  3


2006-2007: 2nd Team ALL SCIAC, Offensive Player of the Year (Team Award)

2007-2008:  2nd Team ALL SCIAC

2008-2009:  Captain, Co- Most Valuable Player (Team Award)

Current Profession/Vocation/Life’s Work: Teaching in Covina at Northview High School (Go Vikings!) 9th and 11th grade English/Language Arts

What You Have Done Since CMS Softball Days:  A couple of highlights will do. I am teaching high school English and working towards my Masters of Education at Claremont Graduate University. I am also assisting coaching softball and volleyball at Northview. Other than that, I have no life.  J

Reflections on your Athena Softball days:

CMS softball was a very important part of my life in that it provided a physical outlet during the oft-stressful college day-to-day. More importantly, it taught me innumerable lessons about being tough, working hard, stepping up, and being a leader that I will carry with me for a lifetime. I made incredible friendships and learned a great deal about myself through the eyes of my teammates. I think I will forever be wishing I had just one more day to be an Athena.

Words of wisdom for current Athenas:   

Work hard and stay the course, Athenas! You might not be able to see it now, but the things you are learning just by showing up each day and giving your all are invaluable. Playing CMS softball means being a part of something that is bigger than you are. The most rewarding feeling it to know that you have contributed a piece that makes up a larger whole. Please, give every ounce of your effort every day. I feel a great deal of pride knowing that I contributed everything that I felt I could to the team. That feeling of success and of contribution can only come by knowing that you did not take anything for granted. Push your teammates to be better and work harder, but do so by example!

Anything else:   Make it all the way to SHAMBALA this year! (figuratively J)


Class of 2007

Kristen Linscott

Played 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007


All-West Region: 2nd Team (2004)

All-SCIAC: 1st Team (2004, 2005) 2nd Team (2006, 2007)

Team Awards: Rookie of the Year (2004) MVP (2006)






Current endeavors:

  • Investment Banking Officer (Senior Analyst) at Union Bank, energy Capital Services, Power & Utility Department.
  • Finishing a Certificate in Fitness at UCLA Extension, taking prerequisite courses to apply for Physical Therapy Programs in Fall 2011

Accomplishments Since Graduation:

  • Received a Certificate in Commercial Credit/Banking from Union Bank (1.5 year program).
  • Assisted in the 2008/2009 Athena pre-season fall ball.
  • Completed three half-marathons, four triathlons, three Stair Climbs and two 5-K's; signed up for several events in the Spring of 2010, as well as the Chicago Marathon and Chicago Triathlon in August.

"When I was a recruit, I was fascinated by our middle infielders (Tina Hamayasu and Kirstin Wilson). Their talent was great, but their teamwork was exquisite. They worked together better than the inside of a clock works to change the time. This teamwork, this bond, is a dynamic characteristic of the Athena Softball team. This family is unique, it's great: we win together, or we lose together, no exceptions (homework assignments included).

It's on the diamond that you shine as an Athena: it is where everyone notices the cut and clarity of your talent. No one notices your grades, your relationships, your friends or even your beauty, but they do notice and remember the game. So when you take your first steps onto the Athena's diamond, make sure that you shine with your best cut and clarity, all flaws included (because lets face it, perfection would be boring). Leave everything in your life behind, revel in the few moments you have and remember that today, you get to play.

There is 'crying in baseball': there are tears of joy, tears of triumph, tears of distress and tears of heartache. But each tear shed is a glimmer of emotion, of the intrinsic hope and desire to become better, to become noticed and to become a champion. Love your sister, defend your sisters, and take refuge in your sisters" Athena's triumph."


Class of 2006

Tina Hamayasu

Played 2003, 2004, and 2006


ALL SCIAC: 1st Team (2003), 2nd Team (2004)

Team Awards: Gold Glove (2003, 2004), Defensive Player of the Year (2006)






"Since graduation, I took a cross-country trip with high school friends, finished my first marathon, went skydiving, and was hired by the City and County of Honolulu Emergency Services Department. I am currently working towards a paramedic license and Masters in Public Administration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Everything I learned on the field and from the game has helped me excel in my professional and post-graduate life. The discipline, teamwork, and perseverance required on the field are just as important as off the field. The bond you build with your teammates on the diamond can only be understood and shared by those few girls in that one season. Your teammates transform into your extended family. No matter how many years have passed, you will always have the memories from that season played together."

My advice to the current Athenas:

"1. Get dirty and put in extra time to better yourself.

2. Coach is very energetic and very enthusiastic; try to keep up!

3. Make time to eat dinner together as a team."

Kirstin Wilson

Played in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006


ALL-SCIAC: 1st Team (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006)

All West Region: (2004)

Team Awards: Rookie of the Year (2003), Having a Day (2004), Most Valuable Player (2004, 2005)




"I am currently a Captain in the United States Army. I commissioned through the ROTC program at Claremont McKenna Colleg e the day before I graduated in 2006 and attended Quartermaster Officer Basic Course shortly thereafter. I am stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii but currently deployed to Bagram Airfield Afghanistan as part of OEF 09-10 (Operation Enduring Freedom).Since my softball days, I completed Arial Delivery Management Officers Course in December of 2006 where I rigged and jumped my own parachute. I deployed to both Thailand and Australia in support of joint military exercises in 2007 and 2008.

Softball was my life. From the time I first stepped on the field at the age of 6, I fell in love with the sport. The memories of my days as an Athena are great, in fact probably the ones I will remember forever. Diving into second when you steal a base, backhanding a ball when it rolls smoothly into your glove, the sound of the ball flying off your bat... these are all things that I will remember and miss about the game.

My advice to the current Athenas is to enjoy the game, teammates, friends, and experiences. I always rolled my eyes when I heard this when I was in College, but time does go by fast. You won't get the chance to feel the exhilaration and surge when your bat hits the ball or when you pull out a win after an international tie-breaker forever. Work hard now and reap the benefits of it later. Enjoy it now and go win a National Title!"