Arizona’s recruiting class is loaded with talent from top to bottom with most of the eight players ranked in the top 100 by multiple recruiting sites.
One of those players is Jessie Fontes, ranked No. 24 by Extra-Inning Softball and No. 54 by FloSoftball.
Like most of the 2020 recruiting class, Fontes has been committed to Arizona since the eighth grade. Her recruitment came down to Arizona and another elite program, Oklahoma.
While in high school, she dominated the softball scene in California during her three years at Simi Valley Grace Brethren before transferring to Camarillo for her senior season.
During Fontes’ time in high school, she posted some eye-popping numbers, such as a career ERA of 0.49, and 700 strikeouts. The most impressive thing about her career is the seven no-hitters and three perfect games.
Here’s the Q&A from an interview that covers Fontes’ last high school season, and what awaits her at Arizona.
What did you learn about yourself after the shortened high school softball season?
JF: “Well I transferred high schools to Camarillo for my senior season and I was really looking forward to it. I thought we had a really good team and the girls, we have are really special bond as a team and I was really looking forward to what we’re going to be able to do. It’s really hard to not get to finish out that season and get my senior year, like we all hoped. But, it was great too, even though I didn’t get to end how I wanted to which I still got to build a relationship with those girls on that team that will last a long time. I’m thankful for the short amount of time I had with them.”
What are some things you’re doing at home to stay sharp?
JF: “Well, we do get set workouts from Arizona’s trainer that works with the team and I have a little home gym so I can focus on lifting weights and stuff. I also have a place that I can run to help keep my body in shape and prepare for next season.”
How long have you been committed to Arizona, and can you believe that you are months away from becoming a college student-athlete?
JF: “I’ve been committed to UA since my eighth grade year. So it’s been a long time that I’ve been waiting, but I know it’s came fast and I’m just very excited to finally get there and get to play.”
When you think of Arizona softball, who is someone you grow up watching and idolize or maybe wanted to be like?
JF: “For sure Jenny Finch, like looking at her and to think about I’m gonna get to play on the same field and go to the same school that she went to. That’s like amazing, all she accomplished there and, like after being at Arizona. I don’t know, it’s crazy to think that I’m gonna get to actually play where she did.”
If you had to describe your recruiting class in one word what would that be?
JF: “I would say one word to describe our recruiting class would be competitors. I think that we’re all very competitive, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to make our team the best and get better and learn from Coach (Mike) Candrea and the older girls that have been there. Think we’re just really going to compete at that level.”
What are some aspects of you as a player that Arizona fans can look for?
JF: “I would say I’m very competitive. I love to win. I like being in the big moments, I enjoy having the pressure on me and being in those kinds of situations. I guess you’d say I’m very hard working. I enjoy practicing a lot. And I’m pretty composed, not really one that shows my emotion quite that much when I’m in the circle”
What’s it like knowing that you’re going to get an opportunity to play alongside the seven returning seniors?
JF: “Getting that opportunity is just something really special, and I never thought going into it that I would get to play with those players. I mean, getting to play with people like Dejah (Muilpola), who’s on the Olympic team, or Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, or Jessie Harper. Getting to play with them is just like a super special thing and even getting to learn from them and their experiences at Arizona, and from being on the Olympic team. It is gonna be really fun to learn from them and they can help us grow and become better softball players and people.”
What makes Coach Candrea the type of coach you want to play for?
JF: “Yeah, Coach Candrea is definitely one of the main reasons that I committed to Arizona along with Caitlin (Lowe) and at the time, which at the time Stacy Iveson when I committed, but Taryne (Mowatt) too, it’s just they’re all such great coaches and they’re gonna teach us so much. They’re also great people that are going to prepare you for moments outside of the field and outside of Arizona to get ready for your life after college. They’re going to do whatever they can to help you be at your best while you’re playing for them.”
When you step into that circle for the first time at Arizona, what do you think those feelings are going to be like?
JF: “I think its going to be a really special moment, something that I’ve been waiting for, for a very long time and it’s just going to be something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.