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Baseball team thrives with diversity

By Taylor Van Fleet
On February 10, 2014


One word comes to mind when looking at the Kirkwood Community College baseball roster: Diversity. 

This team is made up of young men who have come from all over the country and even all over the world to join the Eagles baseball program. With 19 players from out of state and nine of those players from outside of the United States, this team exhibits an outstanding amount of diverse culture.  

Players have come to Kirkwood from as far as Canada, Aruba, Puerto Rico and Australia. Three particular freshmen, shortstop Sulliam Rios, catcher Hayden Sloane and pitcher Jeffrey Castillo are still adapting to their new lives in Iowa.  

               Puerto Rican shortstop Sulliam Rios said his decision to play at Kirkwood instead of other colleges was simple. Rios stated that head coach Todd Rima had made a very good impression and convinced him that coming to Kirkwood would be the best opportunity to get a good education along with the best possible baseball experience. Australian Hayden Sloane and New York City native Jeffrey Castillo had similar things to say about their decision to come to Kirkwood. 

 "Todd Rima showed a lot of interest in me and showed me the ability of Kirkwood baseball." Sloane said.

Castillo also said that coach Rima showed a lot of interest in him from the beginning of his recruitment. 

  Sloane and Rios both said that a big challenge since moving to Cedar Rapids has been adapting to the cold Iowa winter. Sloane stated that his least favorite aspect about Iowa is "definitely the weather, it's pretty tough getting used to." 

Rios said he isn't used to the temperatures dropping below 80 degrees in Puerto Rico so his first winter experience in Iowa has been the complete opposite of what he's used to.  

But, all three players said their biggest challenge in their move to Iowa has been being away from their families. 

"What I miss most about living in New York would be my mom's cooking, coming home to her everyday and just being around my family." Castillo stated. 

Rios had similar remarks stating, "What I miss the most is being around my mom, my family and all of my friends." 

Despite the cold weather and the occasional homesickness, these freshman baseball players said they have really enjoyed being a part of the baseball team at Kirkwood.  Sloane stated, "I work with my teammates really well. Being the youngest it's hard but they've brought me in as basically one of their family members and we're all really close." 

Rios added he has developed a strong bond with his teammates. He stated, "They are good friends and good teammates, they're always pushing me." The team's chemistry is what Castillo said will get them a championship, stating "What I expect for my team this upcoming season would be honestly for us to win the National Championship because we have a good team, the team chemistry is good, everyone likes each other, everyone pushes each other and everyone has the same goal and that is to win the National Championship." 

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