Spartans of UD: Isalino "JJ" Valencia

Mar 4, 2020

Spartans of UD highlights what makes University of Dubuque special – the people who live, work, and study on campus. 

Isalino “JJ” Valencia is a senior human health science major from Marysville, Washington, who is on the baseball team.

1. How did you find University of Dubuque as a student-athlete from the state of Washington?

“Chad Harris, who was an assistant coach at UD, knew the assistant coach at my junior college, Skagit Valley College. He recruited me that way. Funny enough before it was brought up I found a video on YouTube about student-athlete life here at UD and it seemed pretty appealing. At first the thought of Iowa was tough because I like the west coast and being close to home, but I’ve grown to love the Midwest, especially Dubuque and the state of Iowa.” 

2. Can you share some reflections on your memories of helping the Spartans capture their first-ever conference baseball title? What it was like to be part of a team in the NCAA Regional?

“It was an amazing experience being able to rally with the fellas and get hot towards the end of the season. At the start of the season it was a rather slow launch, but once we got to conference play we played some fantastic baseball. It was a bit of a transition for us that year considering we started the fall with Coach Kalb, but we finished the season without him. He was in our thoughts throughout the entire season and he was definitely with us watching us every step of the way. Earning the school’s first title that year made it feel extra great. Winning the conference and the tourney was an amazing experience. Getting doused with water and dog piling the field not once but twice was a great feeling. Those are things you’ll always remember: the guys you were with, the joys of sharing victories with your brothers, the long bus rides to and from games, and the bonding on the weekends after double headers.”

3. Having played in 40 games last season, what goals do you have for the 2020 season as one of the veterans/seniors?

“This season our goal is to play some great baseball and the wins should take care of themselves. Obviously, you want to win as many games as possible and break records and win the conference, which are goals that we certainly have. That all starts with playing some dang good baseball. Winning the conference and the tourney, as well as breaking the wins record, should be a product of that.”

4. What advice can you give to prospective players?

“Some advice for prospective players would be to work your butt off before and when you get to campus. Once you commit, the work has only begun. There are only nine guys that play at a time, so do your absolute best to be one of those nine each and every day. Get to class, get to the gym, get to the field, and get to the kitchen. We’ve got great facilities and resources to enhance not only your baseball skills but also your career endeavors, so use all of them. If you do, you’ll have a great experience at UD to take with you for the rest of your life.”

5. What is your favorite spot on campus? Why?

“Although there are many great spots on campus with fantastic views, my favorite spot on campus would have to be the baseball field. It’s a beautifully made field with a great view of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church. Just over center field you can see the top of the church. Just walking out of the CRWC, the view of the field is impeccable. I like it because of how beautiful it is and how it symbolizes one of the things that brought me here to UD.”