Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

Jamia Reid broke Cal's stolen bases record as a freshman. Three years later, the senior is looking toward home.

Dean Ignacio/Staff

Jamia Reid is a thrill seeker. She loves standing on the bag, scanning the field, her eyes sharp for an opportunity to bolt.

“It’s a combination of strategy and speed,” says the senior outfielder. “I need to be ready at all times, for anything.”

It is this edge that has led Jamia to her niche on the Cal softball team. And it is a niche she has worked for four long years to forge. It is a mixture of natural talent, practice and guts that have helped her develop her coveted skill.

“You have to analyze the field and know who is covering the bag at all times,” Reid says. “If it is the second baseman, you have to be even quicker off the base because she is already there. With the shortstop, it is almost like a footrace to the bag, and she has to be able to catch the ball.”

Since arriving at Cal, Reid has definitely had her share of daring feats. Her freshman year, she broke the Bears’ single-season stolen bases record with 47 steals (out of just 50 tries), and she has only continued from there. Through her first three seasons, she was safe on 87.5 percent of her attempts. But sometimes thrills aren’t enough. Sometimes she needs a little flare too.

“There will be times that I think about stealing home,” she says. “I stole home during a play, and that’s when I injured myself.”

Reid was safe on that play, as were a few other scorers after her, but diving to the plate had some serious consequences. She was out this past fall recovering from her second shoulder surgery, and now the doctors prohibit any diving in her search for style.

“I’m not really a diver, but there were times I dove just because I wanted too,” Reid says. “Usually I slide feet first, but that time I got excited and dove. But no more diving for me.”

However, just because she can’t dive anymore doesn’t mean that she can’t steal home, a fact she points out with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. That is one of her goals for her senior season. She also hopes to keep her cool during the postseason and not let the pressure get to her, a factor she has struggled with in the past.

Her most concrete goal is to achieve something she never has before: to steal 50 bases in a single season. She has been close twice before, with 47 her freshman year and 48 her sophomore year. But that big five-oh looms before her, and she is determined to get it before her Cal career comes to a close.

“I’m aiming for 50 this year,” she says. “I think I can hit 50. I was close the first two years. This year I have to get it.”

Regardless of whether or not she achieves this goal, or the others she has set for herself this season, Reid has left her legacy on Cal softball. She will be known as the queen of stolen bases, long admired for her speed, spark and spunk.

“I’m pretty sure I have the record?” she asks somewhat unsure, referring to the all-time stolen bases record.

She answers herself with more conviction. “No, I know I have the record.

“I’m just trying to get it further, so no one can ever catch up!”