Modesto Junior College student and runner Becky Hobby, a former Hughson High standout, signed a national letter of intent to attend and run for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Feb. 6, at a brief ceremony in the MJC Gymnasium Lobby.
Hobby, currently a sophomore at MJC, is completing an Associate of Science degree in the Dairy Science and will graduate on May 2. A graduate of Hughson High School in 2012, she was the Northern California champion last spring in the 1,500 meters and placed second in the state. In cross country, she placed second and third at NorCals and third during both seasons at state.
The UNLV offer Hobby accepted is a combination of 37 percent academic scholarship and 54 percent athletic performance scholarship for running for the Rebels’ Cross Country and Track/Field teams.
“The Rebels are a program on the move signing several young runners along with another outstanding California JC transfer,” remarked Hobby. “We should have an exciting team next year with the girls I met on my visit and the new girls coming in. We look forward to working hard and making our mark in the racing world at UNLV and the Mountain West Conference.”
Hobby plans to major in Sports Nutrition with an emphasis in developing whey protein usage in sports drinks and protein bars. She was inspired to pursue this major while visiting several prospective universities.
“While on a visit to Ohio State, they took me to the department chair and walked us through all the labs and projects that they were doing, and that is when I knew I wanted to major in some kind of nutrition using whey protein,” said Hobby. “Then a week later at a visit at Oklahoma State, as I was walking through the ginormous Food Technology building, they had a display area of all the packaged foods students designed and are now commercially available in stores. Again, I couldn’t wait to start work on this new area.”
Hobby’s other college visits included trips to Wichita State, Louisiana State University, University of Kentucky, and California State University, Stanislaus.
Hobby noted that all the schools were outstanding. She said the deciding factors were a combination of an excited coaching staff, the Sports Nutrition department and opportunities at UNLV, along with an outstanding group of teammates.
“It was very exciting visiting the Sports Nutrition building at UNLV and seeing all the projects and studies that were going on,” said Hobby. “I can’t wait to get started.”
Her MJC coaches Mary Shea and Rob Taylor were present at the signing ceremony and Shea noted that Hobby has distinguished herself as not just a fast runner, but as a team player and leader.
“She is always encouraging others, helping them at the finish line and picking them up,” reported Shea. “Becky isn’t done yet at MJC as she has one more track season coming up soon, but at this time she is a three-time All-American and earned Academic All-State honors in cross country and will be awarded an Academic All State honor in track and field.”
An athlete must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher to qualify for Academic All-State.
Shea added, “Becky will always be family. I look forward to watching her excel at the next level.”
William Kaiser, dean of Physical, Recreational and Health Education at MJC, stated during the ceremony “This is a big day for her as a student-athlete. Preparing academically and training for a sport takes dedication, time, and perseverance. Becky has shown all these attributes while being a great person. She deserves this and we need to congratulate her.”
Hobby received recruitment calls and letters from over 50 colleges during her junior and senior years in high school. However, she wanted to study agriculture and knew the strong reputation of Modesto Junior College’s Agriculture Department. Hobby also pointed out that MJC is in her blood. Her father is a dairy science professor at MJC, her mother teaches agricultural economics at the college, her uncle is an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team, and her grandfather taught health and coached at MJC.
“This is a big event for Becky and for MJC,” remarked her father Bill Hobby. “It demonstrates that local athletes can increase their value by attending MJC to finish a 2-year degree, be ready to transfer and earn more scholarship opportunities from a larger pool of universities.”
Hobby was surrounded by approximately 45 teammates, MJC staff members, family and friends for the signing. Her coach from junior high school Ed Fisher also spoke proudly of his former runner.
“Becky has the heart of a champion and the courage of a lion,” commented Fisher. “It is fun being here to see the culminating event for the hard work and drive she put in to have this wonderful opportunity.”