There’s not much dispute that Amanda Renteria has a pretty impressive academic record. But the National Republican Congressional Committee alleges the Sanger Democrat — who is seeking to challenge Hanford Republican David Valadao in the 21st Congressional District — has told a few lies to inflate it even more.
On her website — www.amandarenteria.com — there is a link at the top right corner that says “Meet Amanda.” That leads to a biography page for Renteria that includes a section titled “An Outstanding Student-Athlete at Stanford.”
That section had this paragraph as of 5 p.m. Friday: "Amanda was voted the softball team's captain and Most Inspirational Athlete. She was also selected as an Arthur Ashe Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-American in softball."
Later in the evening, the last sentence had been changed to read: "She was also selected as an Arthur Ashe Scholar-Athlete and qualified as an All America Scholar Athlete by the National Fast-Pitch Coaches Association in softball."
The NRCC, however, says Renteria wasn’t an Arthur Ashe Scholar-Athlete — known officially as the Arthur Ashe Jr. Awards for Academic and Athletic Achievement. Instead, she was honorable mention. As for being an Academic All-American, the NRCC says it can find no evidence at all of the claim.
“Beyond issues and policy, candidates for Congress must also pass tests of character and integrity, which Amanda Renteria is clearly failing,” NRCC spokeswoman Alleigh Marré said. “If Renteria is willing to mislead voters about her own past, she cannot be trusted with the future of California families.”
But the Renteria campaign is standing by the website statements.
“Amanda’s résumé of being a California athlete is well known, and it just shows how nervous Mr. Valadao is about her campaign,” Renteria campaign manager Emily Nowlin said.
“It’s kind of sad how he’s attacking her so personally on her athletic and academic achievements. But to set the record straight, Amanda qualified as an All-America scholar-athlete, as determined by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.”
Renteria is listed several times in Stanford University’s softball record book.
Besides her on-field exploits between 1994 and 1997, she is listed three times on the Pac-12 All-Academic Team: honorable mention in 1996 and 1997, and second team in 1995. She also was named most inspirational on the 1996 team and was named a Stanford scholar-athlete.
But nowhere is she listed as Academic All-American.
Nowlin, however, referenced the National Fastpitch Coaches Association for Renteria’s All-America scholar-athlete recognition. The organization, according to its website, is “the professional growth organization for fastpitch softball coaches from all competitive levels of play.”
Records, however, don’t go back to when Renteria was in college, so it was impossible to verify the Renteria campaign’s statement.
However, the Fastpitch Association’s website does list its scholar-athlete qualifications. Athletes who earn a 3.5 or better grade-point average earn the recognition. Renteria both competed and earned that GPA while at Stanford.
As for the Arthur Ashe award, Renteria in 1995 is listed as an honorable mention honoree. She was one of four honorable mentions in women’s softball.
Nowlin said Renteria’s Arthur Ashe Award honorable mention is a recognition, so it was not a misrepresentation on the website.