Saturday, May 13, is a big day for Taryn Arcarese. At 8 a.m., she’ll take the stage and receive a diploma in biomedical sciences from Colorado State University. At noon, she’ll take her position at second base and play the last game of her competitive NCAA Division I softball career.
“There are going to be a lot of emotions,” said Arcarese, a student athlete with one of the toughest majors on campus.
For Arcarese, being able to turn a double play and ace an anatomy exam all in a day’s work took persistence, passion, and a lot of dry-erase markers.
“Taryn has an energetic attitude, is extremely hardworking, and figured out how to balance rigorous coursework with grueling workouts and game-day activities,” said Charles Miller, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, associate department head, and director of its undergraduate program. “She’s smart, tough, and never whines.”
CSU’s softball team trains six days a week year-round and travels most weekends during the season. While on the road with her team, Arcarese could often be found writing out study notes from her classes on bus and airport windows. “People gave me funny looks but I didn’t care,” Arcarese said. “I love science and really enjoyed going through this program.”
Scholarship to CSU
The oldest of five siblings, Arcarese grew up in Monument, Colorado, and planned to attend community college before she was offered a 75-percent scholarship by CSU.
“Just getting to play for another four years was incredible,” Arcarese said. “The hardest part of juggling it all was getting through the long days, but I loved it. And my parents raised me really well and taught me not to quit when things get hard.”
Though she may play again recreationally, after Saturday’s game Arcarese is hanging up her cleats. With few teams and meager player salaries, professional softball never seemed like a realistic option.
“The current state of women’s professional softball is pretty disappointing,” Arcarese said. She, like her peers in Rambition, a CSU organization that connects and empowers female student-athletes and raises awareness for women’s sports, hopes to see opportunities for women in professional sports grow in the future.
Arcarese now plans to pursue graduate school and a career in medicine that will allow her to serve others in a meaningful way, continuing the experience gained when she helped her mother open a health-care clinic for low-income families in Colorado Springs.
No matter where she goes, Arcarese will always have a group of strong women to lean on. “I turn to my team for everything,” she said. “They’re my best friends.”