(Originally posted on The Sojourn’s website on January 22, 2015)
Although she lives just a few miles from campus, Women’s Basketball Player Katrina Blackmon (sr) made a long journey before eventually playing at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Blackmon first played collegiately for the Wright State University Raiders, located in Dayton, Ohio, but did not enjoy playing there.
“It was a different way of coaching … It was a lot of … mental games, getting cussed out … basketball became a job, it wasn’t fun anymore.”
When deciding on a school to transfer to, her mother encouraged Blackmon to come home to Marion, Ind. and play at IWU, her alma mater. Kimberly Blackmon played volleyball and basketball and ran track during her time as a Wildcat and has contact with IWU coaches.
Blackmon did not initially want to stay in her hometown, and she even looked at IWU’s cross-county rivals.
“I actually visited Taylor, because I was thinking I don’t want to stay in Marion, but I had no idea what all this school had to offer,” Blackmon said. “I visited here and was like ‘Yeah, I am going here.’”
Playing in her hometown, she feels pressure to win games but loves the support she receives.
“There is pressure at times because if you have a bad game you know you are going to go to church and see somebody who is going to say ‘What happened?’” Blackmon said. “I love [playing at home], honestly.”
One of her favorite memories playing for IWU is winning the national championship during her sophomore year in 2012.
“Winning nationals was probably the best game, although I was ready to throw up every second of it because I had never played in front of that many people,” Blackmon said. “In high school we had never made it out of sectionals, so to play for a national championship, that was crazy. That was the first net I have ever cut down.”
Blackmon was named the Crossroads League Player of the Week on Jan. 5, and has averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds a game so far this season.
“She has brought this team closer together,” teammate Jessica Brown (jr) said. “Not only is she an amazing player, but she is a great teammate, a great leader and provides so much energy for our team.”
Blackmon said her role off the court is to make things less serious and to “be a relief” for the team, and Assistant Coach Brooke Corbett agrees.
“I love her energy and spirit … The way she chooses to lead her team is inspiring,” Corbett said. “She is an incredibly unselfish player that is always looking to find the best way to fight for her teammates to succeed. She pushes people and gives them verbal affirmation to increase their confidence at the perfect moment.”
Corbett said she also loves Blackmon for being an “honest woman.” Every time they talk, she said she knows it is going to be a “real and genuine conversation.”
Blackmon is a media communication major, and hopes to find a job in the communication field in the spring after graduation.
She said she is happy to have made the switch from a Raider to a Wildcat, and thinks she is a different person after being on this team.
“I think being here has changed me,” Blackmon said. “That is something I wouldn’t ever take for granted.”