Rising Stars- Spring 2014 Part 1

Will Nahmens photo by Ximena Santiago

Baseball (Pitcher Will Nahmens No. 26)

Pitcher Will Nahmens began playing baseball at the age of five in his native Redwood, Calif. “I used to play catch in the backyard with my dad and hit Wiffle Balls,” he said. In four appearances out of the bullpen this season, the 5-foot-11 right-hander has compiled a 5.79 ERA and has yet to surrender a walk. Along with his skill on the mound, Nahmens brings a sense of humor to the Occidental clubhouse. He enjoys growing mustaches, lumberjacking and having deep talks with fellow pitcher David Feasler (senior) at 3 a.m. “My most favorite hobby is collecting and tending to my collection of shorts whose inseam exceeds no more than 6.5 inches,” he said. On a more serious note, Nahmens believes that a few key mistakes have contributed to the team’s 2-7 start, but with more focus from each individual on the team, the black and orange will find success.

Softball (Pitcher Emily Pham No. 22)

Pitcher Emily Pham and the game of softball have endured a lot together. Pham quit her high school squad during her senior year due to the team’s lack of unity, but continued to play for her club team. Her father, who doubled as her pitching coach for much of her life, helped cultivate her softball skills. “There were a lot of fights when I didn’t really want to listen to what he was saying,” Pham said. But she knew that her father was well versed in the physics of pitching and she eventually opened up to his advice. In contrast to her father’s scientific approach, Pham employs an unorthodox post-pitch routine in which she treks to the back of the circle instead of turning her back to home plate. “I don’t think I’ve ever turned the other way, Pham said. “The sky might fall down [if I did].”

Kyle Dalton photo by Ximena Santiago

Men’s Track & Field (Sprinter Kyle Dalton)

Sprinter Kyle Dalton is Jewish, in Glee Club and can also run the 200-meter dash in around 22 seconds. In fact, the combination of these three unique aspects of his life is why Dalton views himself as an athlete who stands outside of the the typical athlete mold. His Jewish identity is especially close to him. “I like fighting the Jewish athlete stereotype because a lot of people think that there are not great Jewish athletes,” Dalton said. Running is more than just a showcase of speed for him as well. “One of the reasons I like track is because I’m able to tune everything else out in my life that might be stressing me out and just worry about the race,” he said. Dalton will continue to break stereotypes while he tries to break the tape in the 100- and 200-meter dashes in his Occidental sprinting career.

Onye photo by Ximena Santiago
Onyekachi Nwabbueze photo by Ximena Santiago

Women’s Track & Field (Sprinter Onyekachi Nwabueze)

At a young age, sprinter Onyekachi Nwabueze always had a lot of energy and was constantly running around, compelling her teachers to suggest that she join track and field. Nwabueze’s self-described personality as a focused, laid-back daredevil contributes to her running ability. She said that her training requires tunnel vision set on progress. “When I train, I always think of pushing myself further than I did before,” Nwabueze said. This attitude aids in her preparation for the multitude of short distance races, including the 100- and 200-meters. Nwabueze recounted a story in which her seventh grade teacher presented the class with teriyaki-coated crickets. The rest of the class was too scared to eat any, but Nwabueze ate three. During a race, a similar no limits mentality pushes her. “When I’m racing, I just say, ‘go, go, go,’ in my head,” Nwabueze said.



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