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Jenny Robledo left Mexico to pursue her softball dreams. With Guyer she is almost there

Jenny Robledo came to the United States to pursue her dream of playing college softball. That meant spending the last two and a half years more than a thousand miles away from her family in Mexico City and having to battle a language barrier as she tried to get the attention of recruiters while playing for Denton Guyer.

With her high school career coming to an end this week at the UIL state tournament in Austin, Robledo has not only earned a softball scholarship to Division I Incarnate Word, but she also has a chance to help Guyer win its first state title. It was made possible by the hospitality of her teammates and their families, who provided everything from car rides around town or to the airport, as well as a place to stay.

Robledo spent her senior year with Guyer superstar second baseman Kaylynn Jones and her family. Jones, an Oregon signee, is one of the top recruits in the country and has been the perfect teammate to help Robledo adjust to a foreign country after the well-traveled Jones lived in Italy and Japan before moving to California and then Denton moved.

Dallas area players, storylines to watch in the 2024 UIL softball state tournament

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“They are a great family,” Robledo said. “The first few years were very tough. I am very close to my family. It was hard not seeing them every day after I got back from training or school. They always take care of me and make sure I’m doing well. It’s fun living with them.”

Robledo, a pitcher and designated player, is 5-2 with a 2.21 ERA and .302 batting average and 23 RBIs as Guyer (37-4) prepares to face Weslaco (35-6) in a Class 6A state semifinal on Friday at 4 p.m. at the University of Texas Red & Charline McCombs Field. Robledo previously lived with the families of Guyer teammates Megan DeWitt and Gracie Willis, and when she needed a place to stay this year, Jones and her family offered to host.

John H. Guyer High School softball players Kaylynn Jones (left) and Jenny Robledo, pose for...
John H. Guyer High School softball players Kaylynn Jones (left) and Jenny Robledo pose for a portrait Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at John H. Guyer High School in Denton. Robledo fulfilled her dream of playing softball by signing with University of the Incarnate Word. Jones is one of the top recruits in the country and has signed with Oregon. (Shafkat Anowar / Staff Photographer)

“It was great,” Jones said. “I have a younger brother and I always wanted a sister. It really felt like having a sister to have Jenny in the house. I’m not a big person who opens up to everyone, but I felt like it was very easy to open up to Jenny.

Born and raised in Mexico, Robledo has played for the Mexico national junior team, even helping that team to a bronze medal at this year’s Pan Am Games Under-18, playing alongside her younger sister Johana. Robledo was one of the country’s rising stars, but she knew the best way to get on the radar of college recruiters was to leave her family and move to America on her own.

She got that opportunity when she was invited to the United States to play select softball and ended up with the D-FW-based American Freedom organization. After attending several high schools, she fell in love with Guyer and enrolled there as a sophomore.

“I moved here because my dream was to play softball in college and I wanted to adapt to the language and culture before college,” Robledo said. “When I was captured it felt great. My dream came true. In Mexico, not many people can do that.”

Robledo had learned some English in Mexico, but she still had a long way to go to become fluent as she is today. She said it took her about a year to feel comfortable speaking the language.

Her family tries to visit every few months, and when they’re not there, times are made easier by Jones, who knows what it’s like to be alone. During part of the time her parents lived in Japan, Jones moved to California so she could play softball, and when her parents moved to Denton, Jones stayed in California to train for about the first five months of her junior year.

“I try to remind her every day that we are her family too,” Jones said. “They are different surnames, but we will always be there for her and help her in any way we can.”

Robledo did not qualify for varsity competition her freshman year at Guyer, so she played on the JV. That was a blessing in disguise, Guyer coach Keith Medford said.

“It took some pressure off her and showed her that it’s a higher level when you go to Metroplex 6A ball,” Medford said. “When you get to the play-offs, there’s nothing that matches that atmosphere. There is nothing that matches the crowd, the intensity and the pressure.”

John H. Guyer High School softball player Jenny Robledo waits on the sidelines during a team game...
John H. Guyer High School softball player Jenny Robledo waits on the sidelines during a team practice, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at John H. Guyer High School in Denton. Robledo fulfilled her dream of playing softball by signing with University of the Incarnate Word. (Shafkat Anowar / Staff Photographer)

The past two years, Robledo has been a member of state tournament teams. She was 13-1 as a junior while sharing pitching duties with top player Finley Montgomery on a state runner-up team.

She has also embraced life in America, becoming a fan of two-time Olympic silver medalist Monica Abbott, learning to love dancing and card games and wanting to pursue a degree in kinesiology. She also learned valuable life lessons.

“Any other kid could go home and talk to their mom or dad about the problems or the good things, but they didn’t really have that except over the phone,” Medford said. “The child is therefore resilient. She will be able to handle anything in life. This has been a life-changing event for her.”

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