Becoming a Titan athlete means becoming part of a new family, one that requires working endlessly and leaving it all out on the field.
Though being part of this family has its rough days, Cal State Fullerton’s senior student-athletes say it’s well worth the good ones.
“I will definitely remember the laughs, and not only the laughs, but the tears as well,” said softball senior Lexi Gonzalez. “It hasn’t been an easy road the way I’ve paved it. It’s been a rocky one, and every time I’ve come out on top and strong, and every time my teammates have been there for me, good or bad.”
A family may be everlasting, but these Titans have to graduate and continue to grow outside of campus.
For left-handed pitcher Maxwell Gibbs, being a Titan has changed him.
“As a person, I’d say I’m more laid back now. I was an eager freshman. I’m more down to earth,” Gibbs said. “I just didn’t know what I was doing freshman year and sophomore year and now I feel like I have more experience.”
During their time with the Titans, these senior athletes have seen the world and made memories that will last a lifetime. Traveling plays a monumental role in athletic careers and allows players to build team chemistry.
“As far as most memorable, I’d probably say going to Omaha my sophomore year was probably the pinnacle,” Gibbs said. “That was amazing.”
Softball senior Delynn Rippy describes her teammates as the most memorable part of her career because they have become family to her. Rippy said she’ll miss traveling with them most because of the way she has created new bonds with each teammate.
“You go home and you live with your roommate, but on the road, you’re rooming with someone different that you may not have ever talked to,” Rippy said.
For Gonzalez, going to Mexico for the Puerta Vallarta Challenge was the most unforgettable moment of her time with the Titans. Gonzalez and the team spent time speaking about their love for softball with children at a local elementary school and forging a lasting connection with the residents of Puerto Vallarta.
Despite the Titans being a road team, the stands were filled with supporters during their games and as soon as CSUF left the stadium, the stands would empty.
“We became the town favorite, and the town kind of followed our story and fell in love with us as much as we fell in love with them. It was just an unbelievable experience that I’ll never forget,” Gonzalez said. “If I could relive it, I would in a heartbeat.”
Though these seniors are done at Cal State Fullerton, distance cannot break the bonds they have built or erase the memories they made.
Gibbs knows he’ll always have a home at CSUF because of the strong connections he’s made during his time as a student-athlete.
“If I want to coach or if I need to talk to (Head Coach Rick Vanderhook) about something, I can come back and talk to my coaches. I’m excited to start my life and see what baseball training has done for me.” Gibbs said. “I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.”
After graduation, Rippy plans on returning to CSUF to support her remaining teammates. She knows that they can rely on her just as much as she can rely on them.
“I am one call away if they ever need me,” Rippy said.