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Torrey Pines’ Kyra Chan taking her softball tools to Stanford

Senior Kyra Chan smiles as she plays “bucket game” with her team toward the end of practice at Torrey Pines High.
Senior Kyra Chan smiles as she plays “bucket game” with her team toward the end of practice at Torrey Pines High.
(Kristian Carreon/For The U-T)

Once COVID-19 caused the 2020 spring season to be wiped out, Kyra Chan knew what the long-term effects were to players like her.

As a sophomore that season, her most important recruiting period was delayed.

When the NCAA handed out an extra year to college players, some potential scholarship athletes, like Chan, could be locked out of receiving financial aid.

Imagine how surprised the 5-foot-10 senior softball outfielder at Torrey Pines High was when Stanford, her dream school from the outset, called on the first day high school players could be contacted.

“They hadn’t seen me play for two years, and they still called,” Chan said. “I knew I had the grades for Stanford, but I was a little surprised they called me right away.

“Everyone has been in a pickle about recruiting, and I was no different.

“All I had to do was be admitted to the college, and I was set.”

Chan qualified academically, and it seems everything the youngest child of parents who met while attending Pac-12 rival USC does is with ease.

As an incoming ninth-grader, Torrey Pines softball coach Jon Moore remembers it took less than an hour of the first practice to pencil Chan onto his varsity roster as the starting center fielder.

“We’ve had our share of good center fielders,” Moore said. “Kyra has all the tools to be out there.

“She’s really good and so fast. If she bunted every time, she’d hit about .700.”

As a freshman, Chan batted .466, stole 33 bases, scored 33 runs and notched 48 base hits.

“I thought freshman year in softball was pretty adequate,” Chan said. “It seemed just like travel ball to me.”

That earned her a second-team All-CIF slot.

Sophomore year was washed away by COVID-19, but last season she hit .495 with 29 steals and 39 runs scored to go with 49 hits.

Chan was a first-team All-CIF selection.

“I didn’t know that was even a thing,” she said. “I was surprised I even made that team.

“I was bummed about sophomore year. Missed all but six games and I couldn’t see my Torrey Pines teammates or my travel ball teammates for a long time.

“We went from 100 mph to zero instantly.”

This season, Chan has been at her best.

She’s hitting .585 with 31 hits, 24 runs scored and she is 12-for-14 stealing bases on a team that is 11-5-1 before Coastal North County League action begins.

Chan now has 128 career base hits despite having a sophomore season limited to six games.

“I’d like to make All-CIF one more time,” Chan said. “It’s sad that I can only make All-CIF three times.”

Chan wants to major in business, but Stanford doesn’t offer that major. So, she’s looking at either financial economics or environmental science.

“Climate change is something we all need to be informed about,” she said. “To just say global warming is a hoax is not good enough.

“There is so much we don’t know about climate change right now. We’re destroying our world day-by-day, and we have to fix that.”

Chan was born in San Diego and has lived in the same bedroom her whole life.

Her parents, who put her in tennis, soccer and basketball before she settled on softball, met while they were attending college at USC, the same place older brother Max is attending.

Despite choosing a Pac-12 school other than the rest of her family, Chan is ready to begin the next chapter of her life in a new place.

“I’ll miss all my Torrey Pines friends,” she said. “It’s sad to leave them, but I’m a little anxious to make new friends at my dream school.

“I’m pretty independent, so going away from home shouldn’t be too bad. And I already know how to do my own laundry.”

Monahan is a freelance writer.


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