Let the games continue

BVH alumni share their athletic experiences while playing in college

BVH alumna Micaela (Lala) Macario was announced freshman of the year
on University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Instagram page.


BVH alumna Micaela (Lala) Macario was announced freshman of the year on University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Instagram page.

Elie Cajes, Features Copy Editor

“My love and passion for this game is immeasurable,” Bonita Vista High (BVH) alumni Lala Macario said.

After graduation, athletes must choose whether or not they want to continue the sport they devoted most of their high school years to. According to “Varsity Odds 2020,” “a little over 7 percent of high school athletes (about 1 in 13) go on to play a varsity sport in college and less than 2 percent of high school athletes (1 in 57) go on to play at NCAA Division 1 schools.” 

Lala Macario is only one athlete that fits into this miniscule category. Macario is a freshman at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and plays as an infielder for the UCF Knights. She graduated from BVH in 2021, and played as infielder for the varsity softball team throughout all four years of high school.

“This makes me the best version of myself. I have learned so many life lessons from handling adversity to serving others before myself. Without this sport, I would not be the person I am today,” Macario said. 

She began playing softball at the age of four, making it almost 15 years since she first started playing the sport. Macario has always been an infielder but dabbled with outfield as her secondary position in travel ball to add to her versatility.

“I love infield because of the involvement you have in every play. You are the closest to the batter and you always have a duty in every play. To me, it’s very exciting. You will never get the same play twice and every single ball you get will be a ‘bang bang’ play,” Macario said. 

When reflecting on her highschool varsity softball career, Macario expressed missing the friendships and unforgettable memories she made.

“From beating Mater Dei to our goofy team dinners, we were always a unit, and that bond is something that is very hard to find anywhere else,” Macario said.

Another alumni of BVH, Alexis Guevara, is a freshman at Brown University who played for the BVH varsity softball team alongside Macario. She was a third baseman during her freshman year and pitcher for her last three years. Like Macario, Guevara has been playing softball her whole life.

“It’s been a huge part of my life, to keep some balance outside of school, relieve stress and focus on something that’s not just school and life,” Guevara said.

As a college student, Guevara faces the struggle of balancing both academics and softball. She explains that it all comes down to getting work done and making sure her free time is spent being productive.

“When we [Guevara and her teammates] can, we’re trying to practice early in the morning, or making sure we get coffee and stay up late doing homework. Just prioritizing every time you’re awake [to get work done],” Guevara said.

Luckily for Guevara, there is more freedom in college regarding scheduling and practices compared to high school sports.

“In high school, we practice every day, right after school. In college, you have a lot more free time because of class choices and living on campus. It’s on your own to make sure you’re putting in the work,” Guevara said.

Focusing on the sport itself, Macario comments that at the college level, every athlete is an ‘elite athlete.’

“Every athlete is a top tier player, so they are not only smart, but they have great athleticism. This makes every play so much faster because balls are hit harder, athletes are faster, and we train for countless hours which makes the occurrence of mistakes such a rarity,” Macario said.

Similarly, Julissa Arzave comments on the competition seen in college sports, specifically college swim. Arzave was a member of the BVH swim team and graduated in 2019. She is now a junior at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and distance freestyler for the UCSD Swim and Dive team.

“While I love the sport just as much as I did in high school, there is a new level of competitiveness being an NCAA athlete. This has brought both a new level of excitement and pressure to the sport,” Arzave said.

Despite these new competitive and commitment levels, Arzave decided to stick with swim for over 10 years. From learning about time management to what it means to be a good teammate, Arzave’s takeaways were extremely valuable.

During her college decision process, Arzave made sure to look at schools with both a great academic and athletic foundation. Though, she knew that she would receive a great education no matter which school she decided to attend. Arzave based her decision on what would be best for her swimming career.

“Although I had the opportunity of swimming at a more “prestigious” academic school, I decided not to pursue the Ivy League route because their swim program wasn’t at the competitive level I was looking for,” Arzave said.

All three athletes harbor great devotion to their sports and recommend that the opportunity to play a college sport is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

“It’s definitely a challenge to play sports and it has to be something that you love a lot. So, if someone out there has the opportunity to do that just go all out. Enjoy it because in four years, if you’re done with high school, and you choose not to do it, it’s over. If you get another four, that’s gonna feel like the best four years, just getting to continue that,” Guevara said.