The Runner Spotlight: Jazleigh Ortiz


Photo contributed by: Jazleigh Ortiz

CSUB senior Jazleigh Ortiz hitting the ball overhead during beach volleyball practice.

Elisa Fuentes, Sports Co-Editor

  This edition of the Runner Spotlight is on CSU Bakersfield’s senior indoor and beach volleyball player Jazleigh Ortiz, who was born and raised in Imperial, CA, a small town near San Diego.  

  Ortiz started playing volleyball when she was three and a half years old, and she has not stopped playing since then. Her father had been a baseball coach and her mother has been a softball and volleyball coach. They both became her role models in all sports, influencing her at a young age to be active in soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, and volleyball. 

  When Ortiz was attending Imperial High School, she focused on basketball, softball, and volleyball. She was recruited throughout high school and believed that when she went to college, she would be playing softball, but was offered a double scholarship in both softball and volleyball at La Sierra University. She found herself going down the path of volleyball and resided there once she went on to Mira Costa College, where she picked up beach volleyball, and then to CSUB. 

  “For volleyball, it was kinda just a sport I was just good at naturally. I never really thought I was gonna play collegiately. It just happened, Ortiz said. 

  While sports are her love, Ortiz found another passion in dentistry, and aspires to become an orthodontist. Her fascination for teeth developed when she was in third grade and accompanied her brother to his dentist appointment. The dentist had x-rays done on her teeth for fun and discovered that she had mesiodens, a rare occurrence of an extra tooth. After going through oral procedures, she was inspired to do the same and give children the smile they have always wanted. 

  “Ever since the third grade, I don’t know how old that makes me, but it’s never changed forever and ever. I’m 21 and I still wanna do it.” 

  Until Ortiz graduates and takes the next step in her path to dental school, she imagined she would always be playing a sport, but that was before the suspension of spring season and beach volleyball ending short. With the memory of the Big West/West Coast Challenge still fresh in her mind, Ortiz says that their only win the meet was one that she will not soon forget. 

  “My partner and I ended up beating them in the pouring rain, and I couldn’t even open my eyes because the rain was going straight into our eyes. It was such a memorable moment; I think that’s one game that will probably be in my memory for a very long time, because of how fun it was and such a great environment.” 

  Despite the cancellation of the season, Ortiz is still looking forward to the fall season next year when volleyball starts in the Big West Conference. Her focus until then is to stay healthy, stay fit, and stay active as much as she can. From running around her hometown and lifting weights, to playing catch with her dad and picking up a ball, she is doing just that. She is also watching tape on other volleyball players in order to find ways to improve her skills and be ready for when the team will finally hit the court again once this hiatus is over.