Storm athletes learn about life as well as sports
By Keaton Weaver Photo by Natalie Lieurance
Cassie Belmodis, Chemeketa’s athletic director, likes to emphasize the way the college’s coaches and instructors teach life as well as sports. “We try to do the best for the 120-some athletes we have now. We want to help our athletes in any way we can, Belmodis said.
“Our goal is to have them move on. Whether that’s onto a four-year college for sports or not, we want them to be ready and successful later in life.” Many student athletes believe that Belmodis and Chemeketa are doing a good job of helping them stay on the right path for ensure a positive future.
Deaven Vessell, a first-year volleyball player, said, “Everyone I talk to seems to care and want to help you when you need them. It’s comforting knowing that they will be there for you.”
Belmodis said, “We won’t graduate a hundred percent of our athletes. Bt if we can help all of them reach their individual goals, that would be a huge success.”
She also stressed that college representatives make the extra effort to ensure student success.
“Access to support is big here. Whatever we can do to make your Chemeketa experience better – whether it’s something important or you just need someone to talk to – we will do it,” she said.
Brandon Groat, a second-year baseball player, said, “I love it. Chemeketa has been awesome. It has treated me very well. Baseball was the main reason I came here. The coaches are great coaches as well as life teachers. They just find a way to connect with you and be there for you.”
For many players, the effort that the college makes to ensure student success, on and off and field or court, goes far beyond the routine.
Derek Nash, a first-year basketball player, said, “Chemeketa is treating me well. It’s like being part of one big family. I’m glad I chose to play basketball here for the next three years.”
Belmodis is understandably proud of the Chemeketa family that she has helped sustain during her time as athletic director.
“I always like to say the Chemeketa Storm is the best-kept secret in Oregon. Everyone wants to talk about the Ducks or the Beavers, but I like us,” she said.
More information about the athletic program at Chemeketa is available by visiting Bldg. 7 on the Salem campus.