Two Minarets High School seniors will be taking their athletic abilities to Corban University in Salem, Oregon in August.
Softball player Kylinn Gunderson and her boyfriend of three years, soccer player Cedar Robertson have received partial scholarships to the university. The private, Christian liberal arts school is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The school, with an enrollment of 1,150, plays in the Cascade Conference, along with College of Idaho, Concordia University, Eastern Oregon University, Southern Oregon University, Northwest Christian, Oregon Tech, Evergreen State College, Oregon Institute of Technology, and Wamer Pacific College.
The strong-armed Gunderson was the Mustang's starting catcher for four years and ended this past season batting .420. The team went 14-14 this season and finished the season in third place in the West Sequoia League with a 6-4 record.
"I have always wanted to play college softball, but I never thought it would become a reality, Gunderson said. "I was told that it was too late to expect any offers as a senior, but I went ahead and tried."
Determined to continue her softball career, Gunderson set a skills video to about 150 colleges, including 75 west coast community colleges. Her Minarets coach Dave Maynez assisted her with her video.
"I felt God's grace when I received an email that Corban University wanted to offer me a partial scholastic-athletic scholarship to play softball there," Gunderson said.
Her combined scholarships will cover about 50% of the expenses and is valued at nearly $80,000 over four years. She plans to major in health science.
Gunderson, who has a 4.0 GPA, feels she has been extremely blessed with the opportunity.
Gunderson will play for coach Nathan Ohta.
"We are very excited that Kylinn has chosen to attend Corban University next year," Ohta said. "She is a talented athlete, an outstanding student, and has the type of Christian character that is so important to our program. We know she is going to be a great addition to our team both on and off the field."
This season, the Warriors were 26-20 overall and 13-15 in conference play. The team is losing just four player to graduation.
The previous year, the team had a record-setting 43-15 record, a conference title, and a berth in the NAIA national postseason tournament.
"This last season we started six freshman, and we were very competitive both nationally and in our conference," Ohta said. "Kylinn is part of a great group of players coming in this year's recruiting class, that will compliment our returners very well. We have our sights set on another Cascade Conference championship and a return trip to the NAIA national tournament."
Gunderson visited Corban in March with her parents and had the opportunity to practice with the team.
"That was a little scary because some of the players were 22 years old and were really good softball players," Gunderson said.
Gunderson will play in the City/County All Star softball game at 7 p.m., June 18, at Margie Wright Field at Fresno State.
She is the daughter of Cody and Cheryl Gunderson.
Robertson will play soccer at Corban
Robertson was a two-time West Sequoia All League first team selection and two-time team MVP in soccer. The Mustangs finished WSL play this year at 2-8. , will join the Corban Warriors team that had an overall 16-2-2 record and won the Cascade Conference Championship this year. The Warriors, who will only lose one player to graduation, finished the season nationally ranked No. 27 in the NAIA.
Robertson, a 5-foot-10, 140 pound mid-field defender with a 3.93 GPA, is receiving an academic-athletic scholarship valued at $64,000 over four years. He plans to major in pre-medicine.
Getting late into my senior year, I wasn't sure this was going to happen," Robertson said. "I'm just so excited to have the opportunity to play at the next level I'm ready to start practice."
Corban soccer Coach Aaron Lewis, who was an assistant coach on the team for two years before taking over the head coaching duties this season, is looking forward to Robertson joining his team.
"We liked his skills and vision on the field," Lewis said. "He's going to fit our playing style really well," Lewis said. "We are looking forward to seeing what he will contribute to our team over the next four years."
Robertson visited the university in January and liked the layout of the campus.
"It's like a country setting in the hills not like a college in the city."
Robertson, known for his speed and always playing at 110%, has been playing soccer since he was five, and has played on several travel teams over the past eight years. He played youth soccer in Madera Ranchos for a number of years and then played on teams in the Mountain Area prior to high school.
Robertson just finished the baseball season on a high note, scoring the winning run (after hitting his only triple of the season) in the Mustang's D-VI championship game against Farmersville on May 24 his 18th birthday.
He said he was first considering playing baseball in college and contacted a couple schools.
"But I have always liked soccer better than baseball, and I decided to pursue that,' Robertson said.
He is the son of Wayne and Shelley Robertson of Coarsegold.