A truly gifted athlete


John Freitag

Senior rower Kendall Boliba rows a double during a practice on the Snake river Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.

Not all athletes play their entire life to better themselves in one sport; for some athletes having a gift for a particular sport just – happens.

That is the case for WSU senior rower Kendall Boliba, who is now a star for the Cougars. She didn’t necessarily always have rowing in her sights.

“I played softball my entire life and that was my plan for what I wanted to do after high school. I wanted to play at the next level,” Boliba said. “In order to stay fit and be ready for the season I needed an offseason sport, and I decided to be a part of the Rose City Rowing Club in Portland.”

Her interest in softball remained as her primary focus until her desire to keep rowing took her by surprise.

“I had always had a passion for tee ball, and out of nowhere, the summer into my senior year, I realized I wanted to try rowing again,” she said. “With the help of my coach, I was able to work hard and able to land a scholarship to Washington State”.

She was a cougar at heart and always had her mentality in attending school here, so she accepted the scholarship WSU offered.

“My best friend’s family was from Pullman, and I had been to campus quite a bit of times,” she said.

Switching sports late in her career and still landing a scholarship represents Boliba’s natural athletic ability.

“I was able to do it with the help of my parents because they had paid so much for my softball stuff at such a young age, and were still willing to support me in my decisions,” she said.

Soon the transition to Pullman came. It was a place where she felt welcomed and ready to give it her all.

Boliba became a part of the varsity traveling team as a sophomore and helped the Cougs get to nationals as a junior.

She said remembers nationals like it was yesterday.

“Our race was the last race to go before the boats started to sink, and the crazy weather added more to the experience,” Boliba said.

She said she will leave Pullman after graduation with great memories, and will truly miss the team atmosphere. She said with this season, her last one as a Coug, she wants to give her all for the Crimson and Gray, one last time.

“I don’t want to leave here with the ‘what if’ mentality,” she said, “I want to make sure I try my hardest, so I know I did the best I could and that was the best I had.”