Familiar face heads up JDCHS softball program
Mar 07, 2018 11:10AM
● By Catherine Garrett
Draper’s Paige Cruz, who played for Juan Diego Catholic High School’s softball team from 2009 to 2013, returns to the program as the head coach this season. (Photo courtesy of Paige Cruz)
Former Juan Diego Catholic High School and First Team All-State softball player Paige Cruz is just five years removed from the high school scene, but she is back to take the reins of the Soaring Eagle program this season.
“We are very excited to have Paige as our new head softball coach,” JDCHS Athletic Director Chris Long said. “She is our first Juan Diego alum to take over as a head coach, so she knows the Juan Diego community, understands that kids are doing on a day-to-day basis and understands the expectations.”
“It has always been my dream to coach at my alma mater,” Cruz said.
The 22-year-old Draper resident has played competitive softball since she was 9 years old and was a varsity player for the Soaring Eagle squad during all four years of high school. She played for the Pima Community College (Arizona) softball team for the next two years before returning to Utah to finish up her teaching degree.
“Paige’s experience as a Juan Diego player as well as her collegiate experience means she can draw on the coaching strategies and techniques of multiple successful coaches,” Long said. “Paige is young, enthusiastic, can relate to high school players well, and if she can teach them to be half as tough as she was, we’ll win a lot of games.”
This past year, she began coaching the Utah Freakz competitive team. “I missed the sport and wanted to give back to the softball community,” Cruz said.
“My coaching philosophy is about the love of the game,” Cruz said. “It brings me great joy to see the younger generation love the sport as much as I do. We learn a great amount of values from playing this sport and those values stay with us as we enter adulthood.”
Cruz will be assisted this season by Craig Schmitke and Adriana Johnson.
“We are hoping to rebuild the program back to its former glory and making it the program it was when I played and before my time,” Cruz said.