Thursday's Conversation With UNLV's Garie Blando
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Welcome to Thursday’s Conversation. Each week, one Mountain West student-athlete will be featured by answering a series of questions.
Joining the conversation this week is UNLV’s Garie Blando. The junior from Chino Hills, California, is a shortstop on the Rebels softball team. Last season, Blando was named the MW Player of the Year after finishing Conference play with a .469 batting average (38-of-81) and a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts.
Blando and the Rebels begin the 2015 season on Friday, as UNLV hosts the Sportco Kick Off Classic. UNLV takes on Louisville at 3:45 p.m. PT, followed by UC Davis at 6 p.m. PT. Both games can be viewed live and for free on the Mountain West Network by logging on to www.TheMW.com.
Question: Opening Day is almost here. What’s the feeling amongst the team as you get ready to embark on the 2015 season?
Answer: We’re really excited about this year. We’re ready to compete and have an opponent on the other side of the field after practicing against each other for so long. I think we have all the key components that we need to have a successful year.
Q: You were the 2014 MW Player of the Year. What was that like to win that award and does that put any pressure on you to try and live up to what you did last year, this season?
A: It still hasn’t hit me almost a year later, which is a little strange to say. You work hard your whole life for an honor like that and to receive it is very humbling. There’s certainly a target on your back being the Player of the Year and coming back, but for me, the pressure excites me and motivates me to work harder and harder.
Q: Softball’s non-conference schedule is filled with tournaments. How do you prepare, both mentally and physically, to play as many as six games in three days?
A: You’re certainly tired by the time you get to Sunday, but you have to keep pushing through it and I think playing in these tournaments prepares you for everything you’ll face in a season. It also helps bring the team closer together; we’re with each other twenty-four-seven and there’s only 22 of us, so you become your own family.
Q: You’re majoring in kinesiological studies. Any thoughts as to what you’d like to do with your degree after you finish school?
A: Once I graduate, I will be applying to medical school. I want to be sports medicine physician and love the whole sports atmosphere. I love talking with our trainers, because I can talk to them about what’s going on with my body in medical terms and get their views on it.
Q: As a two-time Academic All-MW honoree, what’s the one tip you’d give to an incoming student-athlete to enable them to be successful in the classroom?
A: Time management. You have to learn how to balance school, sport and friends. You just have to put the work in and manage time accordingly. UNLV has lots of resources for student-athletes to succeed; it’s up to us to use them.
Q: Walk-up music is very important for baseball and softball players. Have you decided on what your song will be in 2015?
A: The song is “Stay Schemin” by Rick Ross. It’s an instrumental track and the same song I used last year. I figured since we had success with it last year to stick with it for this season.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a road trip?
A: Road trips are my favorite part of the season. We turn on the portable speakers and sing a lot of karaoke. We have a lot of fun with it.
Do you have a student-athlete you’d like to see featured in an upcoming Thursday's Conversation? Contact Dan Johnson at djohnson@TheMW.com