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Calhoun trio sign college scholarships

By BY WILL BROWN - WBROWN@VICAD.COM
Feb. 13, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 12, 2013 at 8:13 p.m.

PORT LAVACA - If someone is beaten by Melina Ortiz this track season, they can blame her classmate Brooke Behrens.

Four years ago, Ortiz joined her middle school's track team because her friend, Behrens, was joining the team.

Behrens moved on to other sports, but Ortiz stuck with it.

Wednesday afternoon, that work paid off for Ortiz.

The Calhoun senior signed a national letter of intent to attend Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on a track and field scholarship.

Ortiz has qualified for the UIL state track and field championships each of the last two years but said she cannot wait to begin the next chapter of her life.

"It brings out my toughness," Ortiz said. "You have to be mentally tough to run track. Not everyone wants to go out there and run."

Thanks to her varsity coaches, Kathy Hellums and Virginia Parsons, as well as her personal coach Chris Thomas, Ortiz said she has developed as an athlete. Her parents, Joe and Laura, highlighted Thomas' work for strengthening their daughter mentally and physically.

"It was close to home, and it had the degree I wanted," Ortiz said when asked why she chose Texas A&M-Corpus Christi over Houston and McMurry. "It's a Division I school, but its not too big."

Ortiz, who is ranked seventh in Calhoun's class of 2013, will study biology, which is just one step on her path to being an ophthalmologist.

Ortiz was not the only person to see her dreams become reality Wednesday.

Softball players Brittany Dworaczyk and Darian Sanchez signed with Galveston College and McLennan Community College, respectively.

Dworaczyk and Sanchez are both four-year lettermen who were introduced to the sport at an early age. Dworaczyk said her grandmother put a ball in her hand when she was a toddler. Sanchez's dad, Fernie, infused what he knew in his daughter.

"Growing up, he played baseball in high school. He passed the sport onto me," Sanchez said. "From the moment I started, I loved the sport."

Growing up, Dworaczyk was a shortstop, outfielder and catcher. When she began her varsity career, she was moved to third base by head coach Daniel Castillo.

With a laugh, she added, "I'll play wherever they put me. I just love playing."

Like Ortiz and Sanchez, Dworaczyk has her future mapped out. She will study kinesiology then become a varsity softball coach.

The relationship Sanchez established with the coaching staff at Waco-based McLennan while playing a club softball tournament on campus in August 2012 was a big factor in her signing with the school Wednesday.

"He's a great guy," Sanchez said about her future coach Manuel Ordones. "I love his coaching style and his philosophies. The team is phenomenal, and I loved everything about it."

Sanchez and Dworaczyk mark the fifth and sixth Calhoun softball players to move on to the collegiate level in the past four years.

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