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Freshman Feature: From Track and Field to Karate, How Baseball’s Eason Recto Arrived at Cornel

Freshman Eason Recto joins the Big Red as a player who possesses tremendous speed and athleticism and can add a solid bat to the lineup. He was a multi-sport athlete who not only excelled on the baseball field, but also in the classroom.

Born and raised in Chantilly, Virginia, his mother is from North Carolina and father hails from Manila in the Philippines. His two parents met through the Navy while each was living on the west coast.

Recto considered several other schools in the recruiting process, including other Ivy League teams, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, and the Naval Academy due to his parents’ background.

One of Recto’s mentors was originally recruited to Cornell and directed him toward the university. “He had a connection to coach Walkenbach, and he had sent some other kids from northern Virginia up there,” recalled Recto, “He thought that my skillset would be pretty translatable up here too.”

Recto is enrolled in the College of Engineering and is currently looking into operations research and information as a likely career path.

Without growing up playing t-ball, which is a common starting point for most youth players, Recto began his baseball career in 2005 at about nine years old. In that same year, the previously Montreal Expos relocated to Washington D.C., renaming the organization as the Nationals.

Recto immediately became a Washington Nationals fan as a kid and still boasts the same passion for his hometown team.

“I’m a big Nat’s fan,” said Recto, “I love the ballpark there, it’s my favorite one I’ve ever been to.”

Progressing through his young career, Recto’s hometown team in Chantilly made it within one game of advancing to the Little League World Series in 2009 before losing a heartbreaker to Warner Robins, Georgia, which formerly took home the tournament hardware two years prior.

“We played in the Southeast Regional Championship,” reminisces Recto, “the umpire screwed up a call. The ball kicked off the runner’s foot, and no umpire saw it, but the replay on ESPN showed it.”

Recto dubs this memory as one of his most prominent moments playing baseball, yet his other favorite recollection comes from his senior year in high school when Chantilly won the state regional tournament for the first time in school history. His high school proceeded all the way to the state championship in just its first Virginia state tournament appearance.

Recto stated, “it was a big milestone for our baseball program, and it was really cool to be a part of that history. It was probably one of the greatest things we accomplished as a team.”

He earned district pitcher of the year honors, while being named to the all-region first team and all-state second team. Throughout high school, Recto received the Scholar-Athlete award six times, was an AP Scholar with Distinction, and maintained a membership of the National Honor Society for three straight years.

In addition to playing baseball, Recto also ran track in high school and achieved black belt status in karate.

He was an all-state sprinter in indoor track and field, which he believes greatly contributed to his quickness and acceleration on the field. “I really worked hard at it, and I really enjoyed it. So, that developed my speed, and it definitely paid off,” said Recto.

In comparison, he attributes his humble and calm mindset to karate. Recto remembers his black belt testing whenever he finds himself in a stressful situation due to the mental toughness he possessed in order to overcome adversity to earn the belt.

Besides being a black belt, Recto says that one skill not many people know he has is his ability to solve a Rubik’s cube in under a minute. Recto provided some insight into this aptitude, stating, “Once you learn it, you get addicted. You just want to keep beating your score.”

Recto also explains how he listens to a motivational video before each game and is very superstitious. He attributes his consistent regimen as one of these keys to success.

“When it comes to superstitions,” Recto described, “I hate stepping on lines, not matter what line it is. I’ll make sure if I do something one day, and I have a goody day, I’ll do it again the next day.”

Still, Recto has already changed his approach to the plate and his mentality as a hitter since arriving on campus. Cornell is a team that preaches hitting for doubles, so Recto worked on driving the ball more, whereas, previously, he hit primarily for contact. Now, he added a leg kick and just attempts to obtain as much power as possible in his swing.

“Hitting is my favorite part of baseball,” said Recto. Yet furthermore, he illustrates his overall love for the game, “Baseball has always been really the defining characteristic of my personality for my life. It’s been a way for me to express myself, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”

Recto will look to bring this passion to the Big Red this season, as the freshman has confidence in the team’s potential.

“I have never played on a baseball team with more motivated and talented guys as I have here,” described Recto. “Everyday you can always see them putting in a 100 percent effort, and it makes you want to work just as hard, or even harder if you can, to just reach your goals and, obviously, this season’s Ivy League championship.”

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