First Year College Athletes

Susanna Williams, Staff Reporter

Transitioning into your first year in college can be difficult; especially for those who are also transitioning into being college athletes on top of already being college students. This week, we spoke with several first-year athletes about their experiences so far. Tate Cadang is a first year and plays for the volleyball team, which just completed their season with a conferences 6-10-0 record. Brandon Bees is a first-year on the swim team, which has just started its season with only four meets under its belt. James Klinman is a first-year cross-country runner.

All three athletes expressed that their experiences thus far as college athletes were positive. “I was lucky enough to have a supporting coach who wanted nothing but the best for me in terms of being an athlete.  Then there’s my team who I found a sisterhood in and that made the transition into not just college, but the life of a Whitman Blues collegiate athlete, a little easier,” Cadang said. 

Klinman also elaborated that, The cross country team quickly became like a family to me, and I enjoy all the time that I get to spend with them. I appreciate the work ethic of the team in and out of practice, and I have become a better athlete and student in my time at Whitman.”

In regards to his expectations entering Whitman, Bees stated that, “My expectations when coming here were that it would be difficult yet rewarding.  I was nowhere near wrong.”

Cadang expressed similar sentiments.

“Before coming to Whitman, I knew that this school was a very rigorous school.  I had a feeling Whitman was going to challenge me in my academics, my athletics and other aspects of my life,” Cadang said. “I am here to say that those expectations were exceeded.”

Klinman also felt like his expectations had been exceeded.

My expectations were that I would have to work hard so that I would do well as a student-athlete, however I did not realize how hard I would have to work,” Klinman said. “I still hold the same expectations for myself to become the best student-athlete that I can be, and I have been learning how to achieve my goals.”

With his season only just beginning, Bees is looking forward to several things.

“I’m looking forward to training harder and getting to know my fellow swimmers better as the season begins. I’m also looking forward to learning a lot more from my classes and just messing around with my friends the rest of the year,” said Bees. 

Klinman also has a lot to look forward to, as cross-country has several seasons.

I am looking forward for the start of the next cross country season. I am going to work hard in the off-season, and I am excited to see how I improve over the course of the year. I am also excited to meet the new additions to the team next year and give them an awesome experience much like I got,” said Bees. 

Reflecting back on her recently ended season, Cadang had this advice for other current first-year athletes, as well as those to arrive in the coming years; however, this did not come without a disclaimer that she was just starting to figure it out herself:

“I am only in my first semester, so I am really not one to talk, but I would tell other first-year athletes to not worry too much.  You have Whitman. You have so much support from the community, not just on campus and your team, but even in the rest of the Walla Walla community,” said Cadang. “Your first semester, as I am finding out, is trial and error, especially during season. See what works best for you, if it doesn’t, switch it up, and keep doing it until you find your flow.  It’ll come with time, but you just have to keep working towards it.”