Celina Felix was surprised when she learned Texas wanted her.
The Montclair, California, native started her collegiate career at Mt. San Antonio College in her hometown and was close to transferring to nearby California State University-Fullerton. But one night toward the end of her sophomore year while studying for a test, she got a call saying Texas was interested.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Felix said. “I honestly kept it a secret for so long until it was official. I wanted to stay local if it wasn’t a big, really good school until this opportunity presented itself, and I just had to take it.”
Although it’s a big adjustment moving from California to Texas, the junior third baseman hasn’t missed a beat on the field.
Felix earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors just two weeks into her Longhorn career. She’s currently ranked second on the team in batting average (.359), home runs (6) and RBI (27) and has struck out just seven times in 117 at-bats. She’s solid defensively on the hot corner, too, and has made some highlight reel plays for Texas.
Head coach Connie Clark praises Felix’s natural ability. In fact, Clark said she doesn’t try to over-coach Felix or let her think too much because that’s when she starts getting in trouble.
“Celina Felix is about as raw of an athlete as we’ve had,” Clark said. “She’s so instinctually active, and at the plate she does things you can’t teach. Her hand-eye coordination and ability to really zero in and square up pitches is tremendous.”
Felix came to Texas after the coaching staff searched the country for someone to help build depth on the left side of the field. Texas assistant coach Jennifer McFalls was on the Olympic team with Crystl Bustos of the Mt. San Antonio College staff, and that connection helped the Longhorns find their missing piece.
“She really brings something special to the team,” senior second baseman Stephanie Ceo said. “She came out with a positive energy, she’s got an amazing swing and all that confidence; it’s really something special.”
The confidence her teammates have in her made the transition from junior college to Big 12 softball easier for Felix. She has fun and feels comfortable, and that allows her to play to her best ability and achieve the dreams she’s worked toward for so long. It wasn’t an easy process, but that makes her appreciate this experience even more.
“I had a goal starting school,” Felix said. “I wanted to play ball and go to a good school, and fighting for that is exactly how I got here. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but I feel like I’m in it now. It feels good.”