Softball helps Calexico graduate Cassandra Roldan get a free education
Calexico High and Kansas Wesleyan University alumnus Cassandra Roldan poses for a photo next to a batting cage Thursday at her Calexico home. (FERNANDO ACOSTA JR. PHOTO / August 4, 2012)
After playing two years at Arizona Western College in Yuma and two at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kan., the 22-year-old has plenty of memories, but more importantly, an education to boast.
“If I could do it, a girl from Calexico, then anyone can achieve the dreams, anything is possible,” said the Calexico native. “You just have to believe in yourself that you can do it. In the end, hard work pays off.”
Roldan certainly worked hard for her accomplishments, which include a full-ride scholarship to KWU.
The high school shortstop first went to AWC, where she was moved to second base by her coaches.
It was an easy transition for her but didn’t get her much playing time. She rode the bench most of her time there, putting in doubt her future in the sport.
Determined to keep playing, she sent several e-mails to several different schools.
“I didn’t know where I was going to play,” Roldan said. “I wanted to start fresh, new, a new coach, a new program.”
She got just that at KWU. The program hired a new head coach, Michelle Webster, a KWU Coyote graduate as well.
The first season under Webster was a rough one, with the Coyotes finishing 2-14 and last in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and 4-32 overall. That same year was Roldan’s final year at AWC.
The second year under Webster, first for Roldan at KWU, the Coyotes improved to 8-8 in conference and 31-18 overall.
“As players, we played very good together,” Roldan said. “The program was starting off new.”
More importantly for Roldan, she was a starter and getting plenty of playing time at second base.
Her final year at KWU is when the Coyotes found their potential.
They finished 12-6 in conference and 35-14 overall.
“I was really proud of what we accomplished because it was really hard at first,” Roldan said. “Transitioning from AWC, where I wasn’t a starter, to Kansas, where I was a starter every game, it was a big accomplishment.”
It also didn’t help she was leaving California and Arizona for Kansas.
While her collegiate softball career is over, her schooling isn’t quite. She will graduate this fall from KWU and plans to look for a job working for the YMCA.
“Even though I was in the middle of the country, it was a huge transition from being here in Calexico to going to Kansas, to all the tornadoes and stuff,” she said. “I was really proud of making that decision to go to Kansas. It was the best decision I’ve made.”