Winter Hit/Pitch and Skills Program Starting January 5th
Athlete with a focus on his studies
By Kevin Parnell - Kelowna Capital News - November 18, 2007
Kevin Challoner, a player with the Okanagan Baseball Institute, has earned a scholarship to Missouri Valley State, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school.
Kevin Parnell/capital news
Focusing more on school has allowed Kelowna Jays baseball player Kevin Challoner the chance to earn a baseball scholarship south of the border.
Challoner, a 21-year-old outfielder, has accepted a scholarship to Missouri Valley State, a school that competes in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics).
“It’s so important to focus on school,” said Challoner this week, after accepting the scholarship. “You really have to be a student-athlete. It’s an exciting chance for me. I’ve worked really hard at my junior college and this last summer with the Jays. I’m really excited to go down and play at a good school.”
Challoner arrived in Kelowna to play with the Jays after attending Malaspina College’s baseball program. This summer he batted .390 with three home runs and 45 runs batted in for the Jays. He was also selected to play at the nationals in Quebec. But it was his work in the off season and his attention to his school marks that opened the doors for the native of Winnipeg.
“Kevin had some opportunities coming out of Malaspina but he didn’t have the grades,” said Jays coach Geoff White. “Once he got his grades up it opened the doors for him to get eligible and looked at by some schools. Kevin has a tremendous work ethic. He just doesn’t quit. He’s really motivated. His work ethic was the difference and he took that into his academic approach as well.”
For Challoner, arriving in Kelowna to play with the Jays and to work out with White at the Okanagan Baseball Institute (see story below) was a blessing.
“I’m really thankful that I have someone like Geoff around,” he said. “He’s taught me what it takes to be a better conditioned athlete, to be a better fielder and to be quicker on the base paths. He really showed me what it takes to be a well rounded athlete rather than just one dimensional.”
Challoner will leave for Missouri in the spring and join the baseball program as it kicks off another year. He will attempt to win a starting job on the baseball team, which has an opening at left field after one of its starters left the team.
For a Canadian kid, it’s the chance of a lifetime to head for baseball mad America and become a student athlete.
“I’’m so excite because since my college career started my progress has been on steady incline,” he said. “I’ve just been getting better and better. I’m excited to go and play baseball in the states and try to win a starting job.”
And the Jays haven’t seen the last of Challoner either. He says he will be back next summer to keep playing with the Jays program.
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