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Deerfield's Rodriguez embraces dual-sport role for Broncbusters

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  • Deerfield's Sheridan Rodriguez excels at volleyball and track for Garden City Community College. (Photos courtesy Garden City Community College Athletics)
    Deerfield's Sheridan Rodriguez excels at volleyball and track for Garden City Community College. (Photos courtesy Garden City Community College Athletics)

If you blink, you may in fact miss Sheridan Rodriguez. The multi-sport athlete, who plays both volleyball and track, spends time between practice, class and sleep, working at Ross in Garden City.

Rodriguez’s obsession with perfection explains a lot of things, like her 4.0 GPA. Away from the classroom, she finished second in the high jump during the 2019 NJCAA Outdoor Nationals and was the Region VI champion.

Last fall, she recorded 41 kills, 21 digs and six blocks in 26 matches for the volleyball team and this year she helped the Broncbusters end a long losing streak with a win over Butler Community College in early September.

Rodriguez was the Valedictorian of her 2018 Deerfield graduating class and earned numerous academic awards, including the Dale Dennis Excellence in Education Award and the Citizenship Award. She was a member of the National Honor Society and a participant in cross country, volleyball, basketball, track, scholar's bowl, forensics and math relays. She earned all-league honors in volleyball and basketball all four seasons and she was a four-time state qualifier in the high jump.

First year Broncbuster volleyball coach Patrick Hiltz called Rodriguez, the team captain, a coach's dream.

"She understands the concept of team first and how to play a role yet still keep a competitive drive," Hiltz said. "What's unique about that is that she excels in an individual sport as well. It takes a special sort of athlete and human being to be able to excel in both an individual sport as well as a team sport and she has done both."

Hiltz said Rodriguez's leadership is equally as important as her play on the court.

"Sheridan's leadership on and off the court has been key to keeping the team together and on track. She is willing to do whatever is asked of her without complaint. She's someone that you root for and want to see do well.

"When she leaves Garden City and heads off to a four-year school, the school that gets her will have won the athlete lottery and may not even know it," Hiltz added.
Kansas Pregame caught up with Rodriguez to get her thoughts on her experience at Garden City Community College and to learn more about her future plans:

Q. What made you want to attend Garden City Community College? 

A. There were multiple factors that I took into account in my decision to attend Garden City Community College: 1. I was worried about the transition from such a small school (Deerfield) to a huge university, and I liked that at GCCC I knew I would be able to have a connection with my professors. This was a critical factor in my decision because I really hold my academic abilities to a high standard and want to be the best I can possibly be. 2. Financially GCCC was the best option, with my academic and athletic abilities I would not have to pay for the first two years of college, which is a huge deal considering that college tuition can be very expensive, and in some cases people spend half of their life paying off those loans. 3. I would be able to be involved in not one, but two sports at GCCC. Most four year programs I would have to choose, but with the size of Garden I would be able to continue to be a multi-sport athlete. Being a multi-sport athlete was something I highly enjoyed in high school, and not having to let that go quite so soon would allow me more options to find which one I truly loved, and if I wanted to continue sports after GCCC. 4. I really wasn’t ready to part with southwest Kansas to be completely honest. I knew I wanted to start a new chapter in my life, but I wasn’t ready to jump ship and throw myself into something completely new. Garden City was familiar to me, but it was not small town Deerfield, and I would have a chance to let myself physically and mentally grow.

Q. What was it like going from a small 1A school in Deerfield to the junior college level?

A. Going into volleyball and track I knew that it would be nothing like Deerfield. I understood what it was like to be competitive and surrounded by other great female athletes, as I went to state all four years in track, so I wasn’t shocked or anything. However, at Deerfield I was really my own competition on a daily basis. I knew that even though it is a junior college I was going to be surrounded by other people just like me, if not better than I was. So I can admit, it was intimidating knowing I could potentially be at the bottom of the food chain. However, I knew that it would be good for me because it would motivate me to work harder, especially if I was surrounded by these other amazing athletes everyday.

Q. Do you hope to continue competing in volleyball and track at a four year school following completion of your sophomore year at Garden City? If so, do you know where yet? 

A. Yes, I absolutely do. I am keeping my options open to volleyball as I find that this season might bring me something I might want to continue to do at a four year. However, I will only be able to choose one or the other. As of right now track seems to be the more promising option, as I have been involved in track for a long time and this past season with GCCC was very successful for me. I have a couple great schools interested in me as of right now, but I still want to keep my options open because I’m willing to travel far for my next two years of schooling. I really want to make sure I choose the right experience for me, and I would like to see what other offers there are awaiting me. 

Q. What is your major and what are your career plans after college? 

A. I am majoring in Secondary Education. I want to become a Biology teacher, and possibly double major and become an Art teacher as well. So as for career plans, science teachers are in high demand and after getting my degree I would like to begin teaching and start coaching as well. I think teaching and coaching are my true callings in life, and once I begin those I hope my life and career will be mostly set.

Q. Comments about your junior college experience and your experience at GCCC as a whole?

A. Overall, I have nothing but positive things to say about GCCC. I have had the opportunity to find myself as an athlete and as a person here, and I have always felt welcomed and cared for by the coaches, professors, and staff. Choosing to attend Garden City Community College was probably one of the best decisions I have made, and I couldn’t be happier with the direction that my life is taking. I have been able to form some of the best friendships and memories here at GCCC, and that is something I will be forever grateful for.

This feature was produced in conjunction with long-time Kansas Pregame sponsor Garden City Community College. 

Garden City Community College provides the diverse southwest Kansas communities and region with an excellent educational experience that fosters social responsibility and prepares students for personal and academic success. Established in 1919, Garden City Community College has a rich tradition providing the students, local community, region and state with high quality, affordable higher education and workforce training.

Garden City Community College is proud of the highly qualified faculty, staff and administrators whose passion and dedication is to focus on students and providing an engaging and positive learning experience. Whether you are starting a new career, enhancing academic skills or preparing to transfer to a four-year university, Garden City Community College is the right choice to help meet your goals.

For more information visit the Garden City Community College website at www.gcccks.edu.