(KSEE/KGPE) – Sierra Hyland was a star softball pitcher for the El Diamante Miners in high school, and for Cal Poly in college, and with her family having roots in Mexico, she is getting the opportunity of a lifetime in Tokyo.
Hyland, who left Cal Poly as the Big West Conference’s career strikeout leader, didn’t try out for the U.S. softball team, but with her grandfather having been born in Mexico, the 26-year-old went through the process of becoming a Mexican citizen as well, and is participating in the Olympics as a member of Team Mexico.
Her dad Michael says playing in the Olympics is a dream come true for his daughter.
“Even when she was younger, there were a few people that said, ‘we can’t wait to watch you in the Olympics.’ They didn’t realize it might be with Mexico.” said Michael over the phone. “It’s all fallen into place for her. It’s been a dream since she was twelve year’s-old, and the U.S. team was making their parade around America. They played in different places. They played in Fresno. They played in Visalia. When she saw all of them, when she was twelve year’s-old, she said ‘I wanna do that.'”
Michael said most of Mexico’s Olympic softball team is made up of Mexican-Americans, and the coaches are bilingual., which is helpful for Sierra, because she’s not fluent in Spanish yet.
Michael lives in San Luis Obispo now, and that’s where Sierra has settled as well, after her college career at Cal Poly. Sierra’s mother still lives in Visalia.
Update: Sierra became the first Olympian with Central Valley ties to make an appearance in Olympic competition in Japan, just after midnight Wednesday morning pacific time. She came in to face one batter in the sixth inning for Mexico with a couple runners on against Canada, and she induced a flyout to end the inning. Unfortunately, Team Mexico still lost 4-0 to the Canadians. Team Mexico will be back in action on Wednesday night against host country Japan at 8 p.m. PDT. That game can be seen on the NBC Sports Network.