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Student Athlete of the Week – Dani Dardano

Xavier Prep softball pitcher and utility player Dani Dardano is this week’s student-athlete of the week.

Dardano, who has played on varsity since her sophomore year, mentioned that balance is the key to being an all-around athlete and a great student in the classroom.

“I like to keep a really balanced life,” Dardano said. “I think it’s really healthy to have a good balance between being athletic and then also putting a lot of effort into your grades and to school.” 

Head coach Aimee Baraculnas, who has spent the last three years with Dardano, praised how much she has grown into a stronger competitor and a leader.

“She’s a little bit of both. She’s a natural leader, though,” coach Baraculnas said. “You don’t have to sit there and tell her she’s a captain and she’s done this since her sophomore year. Whatever needs to be done, she just goes and does it. She takes initiative. She doesn’t have to be told. She looks around. She can identify if there’s something that needs to be done, and she takes control of the situation.” 

Coming to the valley from Vancouver, Canada, her team made her feel right at home when she arrived.

“They’ve been so welcoming. I had to move to America in my sophomore year, and so they were really a big welcoming part of my move, and I felt like I had a community,” Dardano said.

As a pitcher, Dardano has built a dynamic-duo-like bond with junior catcher Addison Martinez that has strengthened their friendship and increased their trust.

“I back her up whenever she needs it, and we’re a really good duo, actually,” Martinez said. You know, I cheer her on. She cheers me on. It’s great. It’s just so much energy on the field when we’re pitching and catching.” 

As a great athlete and person in the community, Dani’s presence for Xavier Prep softball will always be remembered.

“She has been so present and so on point this year,” coach Baraculnas said. “Like I said, it’s the consistency of the hard work, the positive attitude, the kindness to others, her compassion, her grades are stellar, like everything about her is just exemplary.”

We are always looking for Student-Athlete of the Week nominations. If you know a senior who should be featured next, be sure to contact the KESQ sports department.

The Student-Athlete of the Week segment airs every Tuesday.

Article Topic Follows: Local Sports Events

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Kenji Ito


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