2022’s Mariana Elaraj is striving to become a Florida Gator | Youth1

2022’s Mariana Elaraj is striving to become a Florida Gator

Mariana Elaraj is one of the best players from the Orlando, FL area in the Class of 2022.


The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Elaraj, who attends Liberty High School, is a dynamic player that works as a catcher.



Elaraj has earned plenty of recognition during her outstanding career, such as winning MVP.


“The rewards I receive are important to me because receiving them is the best feeling knowing that you helped out the team a lot,” Elaraj said.


No matter the opponent, on each play Elaraj is determined to give it her all.


Elaraj is going all out.


The motor is always at full throttle whenever Elaraj steps between the lines.


“My mindset in my position (catcher) is that is going to be my position for the rest of my softball career,” Elaraj said. “I want to perform to the best of my abilities at my position to help my team.”


Elaraj has great passion and energy whenever she’s on the diamond. Elaraj tells why she enjoys the game of softball so much.


“What I love most about playing is the intensity of the game. I love being able to compete and win games with my teammates,” Elaraj said. “I enjoy being in the locker room with my teammates after a big win.”


Elaraj has learned many valuable lessons from playing softball that she applies to her everyday life.


The main one is applying perspective to all situations.


“Playing softball taught me that you need to love your life. You only live once so have fun with it. Enjoy it,” Elaraj said. “You need to give it your all on the field and off the field so that you have no regrets.”


Elaraj recalls her favorite softball memory.


“My favorite memory of playing is when I hit my first homer out of the park,” Elaraj said. “It was my favorite memory because that moment I was the happiest of all, knowing that all that work I did paid off.”


Kathrin Pennanen has coached Elaraj for one year at Liberty High School.


Pennanen explains the best parts of Elaraj’s game.


“This is my first year of coaching Mariana at Liberty High School. Mariana plays asa solid catcher while keeping her teammates and pitchers focused on game situations,” Pennanen said. “She is fundamentally sound as an infielder and she has solid technique at the plate.”


Elaraj takes her role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Elaraj makes sure she’s a daily positive influence on her peers.


“I demonstrate being a good teammate by being a leader, and helping people out,” Elaraj said.”Best advice I gave my teammate was, “Remember this is a game of failure, you’re not going to hit the ball all the time, we’re not perfect. Don’t get frustrated because it’s just going to make things worse. Have short term memory and move on.’”


Pennanen adds that Elaraj is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.


“She is a team player and is always willing to give a word of encouragement or praise to her teammates,” Pennanen said. “That attitude has a contagious effect on the team.”


Elaraj is appreciative of having amazing role models that are supportive.


“What I get from my coaches to be a better player is to be humble at all times,” Elaraj said. “The best advice a coach has given me is that attitude is never the answer. It isn’t going to take you anywhere.”


Pennanen is an advocate of Elaraj’s capabilities.


“I look to her as a coach on the field.  She has a cannon for an arm,” Pennanen said. “She is a player who, as her coach, I would feel confident in her playing any position on the ball field and do a phenomenal job.”


In addition to making clutch plays, Elaraj also has a high level of softball IQ as well.


Elaraj has excellent awareness that puts her in position to thrive.


“She is a smart player and is always communicating with the pitcher to be on the same page,” Pennanen said. “She studies the game and is able to recognize the tendencies of the opponent and how to use that to her team’s advantage.”


Elaraj is on the grind to perfect and hone her craft in any way possible.


“Her bat has not only speed but power behind it. She is very dedicated to the game as she stays after practice for more practice,” Pennanen said. “She is very coachable and that sets a great example for her other teammates to follow.”


Elaraj is constantly striving for greatness in everything that she does.


“My goal is to keep a good attitude through everything and to be a positive influence for my peers,” Elaraj said. “I want to make my family proud of me in all that I do as an athlete and as a person as well.”

Elaraj patterns her play after this standout.


“I look up to Aubree Munro because she plays on my favorite pro softball team and also the skills she has as a catcher is amazing,” Elaraj said. “She inspires me to be like her and one day be on the Florida Gators like her.”


Elaraj explains her collegiate aspirations.


“I would love to play at the University of Florida,” Elaraj said. “It would be special to stay in the state to play Division I softball so that my family can come watch my games.”


Elaraj lists math as her favorite subject in school.


“Math is an important subject that you need in the real world,” Elaraj said. “It is challenging but it sharpens my mind in many ways and trains my brain to work on my analytical skills.”


Pennanen is confident Elaraj is willing to do whatever it takes to keep growing as a player.


“Mariana is a team player and will do whatever is necessary to improve herself and her teammates,” Pennanen said.


Pennanen believes the sky is the limit as long as Elaraj continues to stay hungry.  


“She is an unselfish player that puts the team above herself while also being a talented contributor,” Pennanen said. “She has the skills to play on the next level. I think she can accomplish all of her dreams and I look forward to witnessing her having a special career.”



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