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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, May 25, 2022 1 month ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Riley Winters

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Winters was named team MVP for the 2021-2022 season.
by: Andrea Mujica Staff Writer

Riley Winters has been playing softball since she was 8 years old. During the week of May 2 to 8, she reached her career high as a pitcher on the team’s game against City of Life Christian Academy. She threw a no-hitter and had 13 strikeouts in five innings. Winters also was named team MVP for the 2021-2022 season.

How long have you been playing softball? 
About six years now; I was 8 years old when I started playing. 

How did you get into softball? 
I used to play golf and tennis, but (then) I decided I wanted to do a team sport, and my mom signed me up for softball one day, and it was a fun thing. 

What do you love most about playing softball?
My teammates and just being around them. 

What’s your favorite thing about softball? 
Probably cheering with everyone and being with the team. I like being with them.

What about your favorite thing about being a part of the team this year? 
The culture. It’s just really fun being able to talk with everyone about everything. There’s no drama. They are like my family. 

How do you feel about throwing a no-hitter to get a career-high of 13 strikeouts in five innings? 
It felt really good. It was very exciting to accomplish that, because it’s been one of my big goals — to throw a perfect game. 

Talk to us about your mindset throughout.
I just tried to stay focused and not let anything else distract me. (I kept thinking) just continue to compete and don’t get cocky about it, just stay humble.

What is it like having your dad as one of your coaches? 
It’s nice. I’ve had him coach me since I was 8 years old, so it’s just nice having him there and helping me get better, because he knows what he’s talking about. So, I can depend on him and trust him to help me get better.

What’s your favorite movie? 
“The Sound of Music.” When I was little, after I came home from school, (my dad and I) would watch it and get Dairy Queen every day. 

What’s a Netflix series you are binge-watching right now? 
“Gilmore Girls.” I love the relationship between Lorelai and Rory. 

What’s your favorite food?
Sweet potato and steak. Steak is definitely up there. 

What about the top three things in your bucket list?
I want to go to France, and I want to go skydiving. I want to play college softball, and I want to be a part of a team that wins the Women College World Series. 

What three places would you like to visit in your next travels? 
I’m actually going to Montana in the summer. We are going to a ranch in Big Sky, and we are going to ride horses; I’m very excited. I want to go to Paris, because I’m French — a bunch of my mom’s side (of the family) lived in Paris like forever ago, so it’d be very cool to go over there. And I want to go to Hawaii, because it’s like somewhere far away, and I like the beach, so I want to be able to go and have a whole new experience. 

What type of music do you listen to? 
I listen to a variety. I like to listen to old country like David Allen Coe and Merle Haggard, and heavy metal, like Metallica, to get pumped up for a game. 

What’s your favorite class right now? 
Advanced art. I’ve been doing art forever, and it’s always been one of my favorite things to do, so I decided to take advanced art last year, and I decided to take it again this year, because I want to be an architect when I’m older.

Have you given a thought about what college you want to attend?
I would like to go to Auburn University or Clemson University. 

If you could have a superpower, which one would it be and why? 
Probably teleportation. I am late to a lot of things, so it’d be nice to get there on time. 

Coffee or tea? 
Coffee 100% — it’s my favorite drink ever. I drink coffee once a day, but sometimes, I get to like three, (especially) on the weekends when I’m a little tired. We have a Keurig and a Nespresso machine at my house, so I just make me one of those. 

How are you feeling about playing at the regionals quarterfinals?
I am very excited because the school has never made it that far, and I think it’ll be really cool to be the first (team) to do it, and I’m really excited to see what we can do out there.  

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Andrea Mujica is a staff writer for the West Orange Times & Observer, the Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida....

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