The head coach of the Cuesta College softball team, Jenel Guadagno, has just prematurely wrapped up her second season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Guadagno was born and raised in Downey, Calif. She started playing tee-ball at the age of five, moved onto baseball shortly after, and then at the age of nine began a prominent softball career.
Guadagno attended Warren High School, where she was a three-time all league pick. She also helped lead the team to two league titles, and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship game her senior year. This same year Guadagno was named the San Gabriel Valley League MVP, Warren High School’s Athlete of the Year, and was named to the Press Telegram Dream Team.
“Oh yeah, how could you forget something like that,” said Guadagno, when asked about the CIF championship game. “It was tough, but that was a long time ago.”
The following year Guadagno continued her softball career and education at Cerritos College. During her two years there, she was a two-time 1st Team All-South Coast Conference selection at shortstop, and named to the All-Tournament Team where she was voted the Top Hitter.
Guadagno also helped lead the team to back-to-back state championship games, both against Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC). The team lost a hard fought game in 2007.
“We only had 10 girls on the team, we played a lot of games, I mean that’s unheard of,” Guadagno said.
In 2008 both teams were back in the championship and Guadagno, along with the rest of her team, were prepared. Cerritos College took the championship.
“Eight out of the 10 girls had come back and I grew up playing with some of the girls on Mt. SAC through club teams and travel ball,” Guadagno said. “We were ready, we knew what to expect.”
Guadagno would move on to become a two year starter at Point Loma Nazarene University, and earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education.
In Guadagno’s junior year, she had a batting average of .349 with 37 RBIs. In her senior year, she batted .276 with 23 RBIs.
This would be the end of Guadagno’s softball playing career, but she wasn’t done competing.
After graduating from Point Loma, Guadagno earned a master’s degree in sports science with an emphasis on coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University.
Guadagno then began her coaching career as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Cerritos College. Guadagno coached there for seven seasons, taking her teams to the playoffs each year. They had a win loss record of 213-94, and took two South Coast Conference titles.
In August of 2017, Guadagno accepted her first collegiate head coaching position at Cuesta College.
“It’s definitely exciting, I love to compete and I’m thankful for this opportunity,” Guadagno said.
The Cuesta College softball team started the season at 16-7, with 11 mercy rule wins as well as winning their only two league games, before play was suspended.
“It’s very shocking how quickly everything happened, I feel for the girls but it’s just something that’s out of our control,” Guadagno said. “It’s weird not seeing them on a regular basis but we still meet once a week through Zoom and I’ll check in through our group message just to make sure everyone is doing okay mentally and physically.”
Jenel Guadagno and the Cuesta College softball team will have to wait until the 2020-2021 season to return back in action.