From a young age, Orange Lutheran senior Tessa Jerue was set on playing volleyball, just like her older sister, Mia ’21, who was a CIF champion and standout on the court for the Lancers. Jerue was so determined that each time her parents took her to the softball field, she cried and complained.
But one day, at age six, something on the softball diamond clicked for Jerue, and she knew she had found her sport on her terms.
“Ever since then, I've just loved it,” says Jerue. “It's my passion. Playing softball is such an outlet for me. I’m so blessed to have been able to start at such a young age and that my parents kept me in it, even though I wanted to play volleyball so bad.”
After battling injuries her first two years at OLu, Jerue transitioned from playing shortstop to outfield, a move that she has become comfortable with. The team aspect of softball and the work ethic the sport has allowed her to develop have been integral in her love for the game.
“You're learning how to be a leader, you're learning how to work with people and you're learning skill,” says Jerue. “A good trait to have is to be able to learn how to work hard…and playing a sport really helps with that.”
The goals for Jerue and the team this year are centered around winning Trinity League and CIF championships. As a captain for the Lancers, the four-year varsity starter views her role not only as one that leads her teammates but as an example for how they can think and lead for themselves.
“It’s been fun watching Tessa grow and mature over these past four years as she has developed into a team leader on and off the field,” says OLu softball head coach Steve Miklos. “She is a very talented and versatile softball player who is willing and happy to play any position where she can help the team. She is a great role model for our younger players.”
Jerue is honest about her growth trajectory in the sport, admitting that as a younger player, she was more focused on her own success than the success of the team. She credits her faith and her time at OLu for helping her develop the right mindset.
“I overcame that by learning more about God and letting him into my life and realizing that he says to love your neighbor as yourself,” says Jerue. “This is not just for me. We're succeeding as a team, and there's no success if we aren't working together.”
The 17-year old feels each aspect the OLu softball program has been instrumental in guiding her in her faith journey.
“I think our coaches do a great job of bringing in the lessons to be learned and reminding us that this is for God…this is why we're here, and this is why we're working,” says Jerue. “It really changed me as a person because I wasn't like that in the beginning. But from these four years, there's been such a difference in how my faith has grown.”
Off the field, Jerue serves as an Engage Mentor, participates in the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) club and is a member of OLu’s choir. She loves to sing and will be singing the national anthem this year at the program’s senior night.
Jerue will be playing softball next year for Concordia University Irvine and plans to study communications with a future goal of returning to OLu as a counselor. Her decision to remain in SoCal for college will allow her to stay close by her most influential role model, her sister, who currently plays volleyball for Cal Baptist University.
“She literally is amazing,” says Jerue of Mia. “She works so hard, she keeps me in check…and she’s taught me the most. I want to be able to teach people like she teaches me. I'm so proud of her.”