PENDLETON — Three months ago, Pendleton senior Kalan McGlothan wrapped up her stellar high school basketball career that included multiple all-state and all-league selections and too many double-doubles to count.
Yet one thing that was missing was an offer to continue playing the sport she loved in college. McGlothan held a dream of playing college basketball for as long as she can remember, but only had limited interest from some local community colleges.
However, calls and offers from coaches soon began to trickle in as the weeks went on and soon McGlothan’s dream became a reality as she found a home at Chemeketa Community College in Salem.
McGlothan made her pledge to Chemeketa official on Tuesday evening as she signed her National Letter of Intent with the school at a joint signing party at Big John’s Pizza in Pendleton with fellow Buckaroo Rylee Gentner, who signed to play both volleyball and softball at Walla Walla Community College as well.
“It is the best thing,” a smiling McGlothan said on Tuesday. “At the beginning of the year my mom was pushing me to play softball (in college) and I said ‘You know, if that’s how I’m going to go through college I’ll do it, but I want to play basketball so bad.’ I know this next step in my life will be so much fun, and I’m ready to get in there and do work right now. I’m so excited.”
McGlothan, who plans on studying special needs education, chose Chemeketa over five other offers from the junior college level, citing the chance for playing time and a good feeling with head coach Kevin McCarrell, plus she took a liking to the campus and the Salem area when she visited the school recently. Last season, Chemeketa finished 9-18 overall and 7-9 in the NWAC South Region, just missing out on a playoff spot.
Pendleton varsity basketball coach Kevin Porter said he was thrilled to see McGlothan go on to play collegiately. Porter has coached McGlothan since she moved to Pendleton as a sixth grader, and knew during her junior year that she might be cut out for the college level.
“She always had the athletic ability,” Porter said Tuesday. “She’s an extremely gifted athlete for somebody her size and to move like she does, and once she learned to use her body strength to her advantage it was kind of lights out at that point.”
Gentner, who wants to become an occupational therapist, meanwhile chose Walla Walla CC over a pair of offers from Division-II schools mainly because of the opportunity to play both volleyball and softball for the Warriors, as well as the chance to stay somewhat close to home. And she is joining two exception programs as the Warriors volleyball team finished 34-17 overall last season and finished second in the NWAC East Region, while the softball team is currently 37-11 overall with a 25-7 record in regional play.
“It’s so surreal,” Gentner said Tuesday. “It doesn’t feel like I’m actually to this point but I know that next year is going to be so fun and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”
Gentner was a second-team all-Columbia River Conference selection on the volleyball court in the fall, helping Pendleton to a conference title as a powerful outside hitter. On the softball diamond, Gentner has been a do-it-all utility player for the Buckaroos in her four years on the varsity roster and will become the seventh former Buckaroo on a college roster next spring.
“It’s great for the girls, it’s great for our program and it’s great for the community to see them go on and love the game so much that they want to continue on in college,” Pendleton softball coach Tim Cary said. “I really love seeing them finish out all four years of college softball and then come back and see us on the high school diamond and say they had a great experience and offer advice. The more we can continue to send on to play in college the better.
“It’s very exciting and a great promotion for the community.”
Before both players will move on to the college ranks, they are key cogs of Pendleton’s softball team that is currently ranked No. 1 in the state with the playoffs one week away.
“It’s all so surreal,” McGlothan said. “They tell you over and over that (high school) goes by so fast you don’t believe it until it happens to you, I’m just trying to slow it down because I want to live in this moment right now.”
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