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Alumni Spotlight: Two-Sport Star Rangel Excels At Texas Wesleyan

Alumni Spotlight: Two-Sport Star Rangel Excels At Texas Wesleyan image

Although Marissa Rangel has moved on from the Pasadena City College softball and volleyball programs, her experiences as a two-sport Lancer have followed her throughout her successful playing career at Texas Wesleyan University.

She collected an impressive list of accomplishments while playing and attending PCC from 2008-2010, including twice being selected to the All-South Coast Conference First Team in volleyball, and the All-SCC Second Team in softball for both the 2009 and 2010 seasons. She earned the prestigious President’s Award from the Kinesiology, Health & Athletics Division for the 2009-2010 sports year.

Rangel, a libero in volleyball and outfielder in softball, was the first Lancer athlete to earn two sets of All-SCC selections since Jennifer Fish did the feat in softball and soccer in 1999-2000.

At Fort Worth-located TWU, Rangel continued her string of success. In softball, she led the Red River Athletic Conference in batting (.463) as a junior, and then helped the Rams win the RRAC championship earlier this year in her senior season. Named All-RRAC both seasons, Rangel also excelled on the volleyball team. She made all-conference in that sport as a junior and then led the team in digs (454) and aces (51) her senior campaign.

Excelling at multiple sports is something that came natural for Rangel, who was a prep star at Whittier’s California High. At PCC, she was grateful to the professors and coaches who were helpful as well as for PCC’s Stan Gray Academic Athletic Zone, a tutoring/studying area available for student-athletes who need help with their studies.

“At TWU the classes are so small and there is a lot of one-on-one with the professors who help you out a lot,” Rangel said. “At PCC, I was in the Zone quite a bit. I wish there was something like that at TWU.”

During her time on the Lancers softball team in 2010, Rangel compiled a .368 batting average, 46 hits and 21 runs scored as a sophomore.. On defense, she was picture perfect, making no errors in center field and totaling 10 assists with her strong throwing arm.

As a PCC volleyball player, Rangel’s team-leading 322 digs set a single-season record in 2008 which, added to her team-leading 314 in 2009, set a school record with 636 digs in her career (both records have since been broken). She had the distinction of helping PCC win its first-ever South Coast Conference volleyball championship, including a perfect 16-0 mark in conference matches.

Though it seemed easy for Rangel, her time at PCC was not without its struggles. A close friend who she considered a sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and Rangel’s worries affected her play on the volleyball court. Not sure how to handle the situation, Rangel sought the help of PCC Head Coach Tammy Silva, who advised her to talk to her friend.

“Sure enough, Tammy was right,” Rangel said. “It was the day before a big game against Mt. SAC, and I had one of my best games.”

Not only did Silva have a good relationship with her players, but her program is one of the most successful sports at PCC. Turning the Lancers into one of the state’s top teams (92-30 career record in five seasons), Silva made a lasting impression on Rangel.

“Tammy always taught me to give it my all because you never know if it could be your last time playing,” Rangel said. “She would tell me what my best serve was and after realizing it, I stuck with it while I was in Texas.”

Her time in PCC’s sports programs is something Rangel will always remember, especially with memories like turning a double play from center field and having countless fans storm the volleyball court after a big victory.

“My favorite memory on the volleyball team was the first home game against El Camino College during the 2009 season,” she said. “We beat them in four games and when we won it was the best feeling ever, especially when the crowd came running onto the court to celebrate with us.”

That match was voted the PCC Top 10 Game of the Decade for the 2000s by the sports information office as the Lancers upset an El Camino team that at the time was the two-time defending state champions and held a perfect 16-0 record coming into the contest.

Miranda Doing was a teammate of Rangel’s at PCC in 2009 and was impressed with her demeanor.

“Marissa is very smart on the court, dedicated and tenacious,” Doing said. “She was a leader and always supported the team. She was firm as a captain should be.

“After she left, I knew it was going to be hard for Tammy to find someone to fill her shoes,” she continued. “No matter what, she was always focused and put so much effort not only in games but during practice as well.”

But even though Doing thinks of Rangel as a determined leader, one comical memory sticks out for her.

“We had just finished a great play and Marissa was cheering so hard her chewing gum flew across the court. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that saw it happen.”

In Texas, Rangel excelled immediately for both of the Rams’ teams thanks to her experiences with Silva and former PCC softball coach Elaine Martinez.

“Playing with Coach Martinez and her staff was an honor,” she said. “Before I went to PCC, I took playing softball for granted. When I saw how much love Martinez had for the sport, it changed my perspective and I love it now.”

 “(In volleyball), being on the court is the best feeling ever,” Rangel said. “When I’m playing, there are no other worries in the world.”

Finished with her TWU playing career, Rangel is looking forward to her future with the university as she plans on serving as a student assistant coach to both the softball and volleyball teams. Majoring in liberal studies, Rangel also is eyeing the completion of her 4-year degree in Spring, 2013.

“I can’t express how much I am going to miss being on the field and on the court,” she said. “But I am thankful to have two amazing coaching opportunities at TWU.”

{Feature written by sports information intern Sara Medina}

Release Date: 06/21/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu