When most high school athletes sign a letter of intent to accept a college scholarship, it usually resolves a stressful mental dilemma.

But Mountain Pointe senior Arielle Cano didn’t go through that turmoil.

Phoenix College had Cano on its softball recruiting list since she was in eighth grade, and she knew it.

With that kind of familiarity, signing was a mere formality.

“Since my junior year they told me I was going to be a Bear,” Cano said. “I didn’t feel obligated, and I checked out a couple of other schools, but it’s a good school.”

The Bears have won eight National Junior College Athletic Association championships going back to 1979 and were runners-up for the title last season.

Cano will likely move from third base where she plays for the Pride to first base when she puts on a Bears’ uniform.

“It’s not really that big of an adjustment,” Cano said. “The ball comes at you faster at third, but I’ve played first for a couple of years before I moved to third.”

Mountain Pointe softball coach Mel Wendell has no doubt that her senior will make the transition to college ball.

“It’s a great program for her,” Wendell said. “She’s equally good at first or third. She has great hands and has developed her leadership skills since her freshman year.”

To reacquaint Cano with first base, Wendell plans to give the infielder some playing time there for the Pride.

The Bears have also been impressed with her bat.

“She’s a natural,” Wendell added. “But she’s also had some coaching from her dad and in club, and she has a tremendous amount of power.”

What separates Cano from other power hitters, Wendell said, is that she knows when there is something wrong with her swing and how to fix it without going through a frustrating batting slump.

When the pitcher’s circle was moved back from 40 to 43 feet this season, it also helped Cano’s contact with the ball.

“You can see the ball a lot better than from 40 feet,” Cano said. “That makes a big difference, especially when you’re facing girls who throw hard. That extra 3 feet really does give you a longer time to see the ball.”

Cano has been on the softball field since she was a 5-year-old, but she has also been on the Pride badminton team that was loaded with softball players last fall.

“It’s a great workout and good conditioning for any other sport,” Cano said.

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