GU alum’s daughter to play in college softball world series

Paige Halstead, who plays for the UCLA Bruins softball team, is the daughter of Mari (Thompson) Halstead, a 1980 Grant Union High School graduate and former resident of Seneca. The Bruins face Auburn Thursday, June 2, in their first game in the Women's College World Series. Paige was also invited to the 2016 Team USA Selection Camp and named to the USA Softball Elite Team.

UCLA freshman Paige Halstead, the daughter of Mari (Thompson) Halstead, will compete in the Women’s College World Series on Thursday, June 2.

Paige is a centerfielder for the 12th-ranked UCLA Bruins who will face fourth-ranked Auburn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The game will air on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

Mari Halstead is a former Seneca resident and 1980 graduate of Grant Union High School. She and her husband Ed live in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Mari said the most exciting news about her daughter is that she’s earned a spot as catcher on the 2016 USA Softball Women’s National Team this year, after spending the 2015 season on the USA Junior team.

“The recruiting process was unbelievable,” Mari said. “They started recruiting her in eighth grade.”

She said, while growing up, her daughter would practice baseball with her brother and his friends.

“The boys would taunt her and say, ‘You hit like a girl,’” Mari said, adding her daughter would then show them up. “That was probably the driving force.”

Paige says on her UCLA Bruins profile that her brothers Josh and Ryan are her primary inspiration. Ryan was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 2015 and plays for their minor league team, the Augusta Green Jackets.

Mari said she used to travel with her family to Seneca during the summers to experience the woods and wildlife. However, her father, Don Thompson, has moved away from the area since that time.

Mari and Ed were on their way to Oklahoma City today, ready for tomorrow’s big game.

Mari said she was proud of the way the Bruins played against the University of Oregon on May 29.

“They really rallied together as a team,” she said.

She said, through it all, her daughter has managed to juggle all her schooling and sports successfully.

“You learn how to manage your time,” she said. “Between academics and workouts, her day is packed from 5 a.m. to 10 or 11 at night.”

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