A Wonderful Homecoming

Homecoming is a yearly tradition where schools welcome back former students and celebrate their return. It’s always a special time in the lives of former students. But, in the case of one former Weston Ranch High School student, the term homecoming is much greater.

On Monday, Elysia Hernandez was named the new softball coach for the Cougars. Hernandez, a standout softball player while at WRHS, returns to the campus where she made her mark to take over the Lady Cougar softball program, which has been in a bit of limbo for the past five months. A graduate and proud member of the Class of 2016, Hernandez comes back to the school where she roamed the middle infield as a player and now has a chance to lead as its new coach. It’s a monumental task to take over a program and considering there hasn’t been much to do for the student-athletes because of Covid-19 and its restrictions, Hernandez is stepping into the unknown. However, she feels this is an excellent chance for her to share what she knows and what she can offer to our softball players.

“Coming back to Weston Ranch is a great way to give back to the school where I got my start,” Hernandez told The Prowl. “I want to show players softball is more than just a sport.”

Hernandez was a standout and accomplished softball player while she attended Weston Ranch. A 4-year starter and 1st Team All-VOL winner her Senior year, Hernandez turned that success into a successful run at the college level. She was awarded a scholarship to play at California State University, Northridge. She spent her four years at CSUN learning more about the game and earning her Bachelors’s Degree in Child Development. The unique qualities in Hernandez caught the attention of Athletic Director Brett Lewis and led him to choose Hernandez as the new coach for the Cougars.

“She showed us a high softball IQ with a lot of experience in playing and coaching,” Lewis told The Prowl. “Elysia also brought a lot of great ideas for the softball program moving forward. Plus, her being one of the few Weston Ranch Alumnus to go straight to a Division One school for athletics is a huge plus. She will be a great leader and mentor for our student-athletes and community.”

The Cougar softball job will be Coach Hernandez’s first head coaching job. The thought of that is nerve-wracking, but Hernandez is up to the challenge.

“I’m nervous yet excited to begin,” Hernandez said. “It’s very emotional for me. I remember the bonds I had with teammates, and I hope I can help our players create good memories while they play just like I did.”

As with anything coaching-related, establishing routines, connections, and a positive perspective will be high on Hernandez’s “to-do” list. It’s a big task, but one she feels she is ready to tackle.

“Our players need to be well-rounded, both as players and as individuals. We need to make connections, and we need to make the game fun,” added Hernandez. “My biggest strength is that I can say I’m from Weston Ranch. I know who we are, and I know who we can become with the right work ethic.”

Coming home is excellent, and for Hernandez, it will be a special homecoming stepping back onto the field where she spent so much time.

The Prowl thanks Coach Hernandez and wishes great success to her, the players, and the program.

 

New softball coach Elysia Hernandez