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Sent on Mormon-News: 29Aug01

By Mark Wright

LDS Woman Volleyball Player Finds Happiness in Eastern Washington

CHENEY, WASHINGTON -- So, what's a nice Mormon girl like Robyn Sonju doing in a place like Cheney, Washington? No, it's not that Cheney is a bad place, it's just not exactly the kind of place where you'd expect to find an LDS college athlete who could be playing somewhere like Utah State.

Sonju's journey to Cheney began several years ago when Sonju, a highly-touted volleyball player from Mesa, Arizona, finished her junior college athletic career at Ricks College. With the competitive fires still burning, she needed to find a new place to continue with her "bump, set, and spike" routine. She had many choices since at least five or six college programs wanted to sign her up. However, there was just one little catch. Sonju's football-playing fiancee was part of the deal. She didn't want to leave him behind and suffer through a long-distance romance.

So she discussed the situation with EWU coach Wade Benson and made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Sonju and her fiancee, Chris Felder would come as a package deal. It's really very simple. Sonju would accept Benson's scholarship offer to play volleyball at Eastern Washington provided that Felder received a scholarship to play football. Two athletes, two scholarships, done deal.

And it's a deal that has turned out well for all involved. Even though her husband isn't playing football this year, Robyn and her husband have enjoyed the move to Cheney and the small-town atmosphere. "I love it here," she said, more than two years later. "It's completely not what I thought it was going to be. I didn't think Cheney was going to be so small. It's small and very family-like. My team is like my family. It's been great."

Not only has Sonju-Felder come to appreciate Cheney, Cheney has come to appreciate her. She's been a major force for the EWU Eagles volleyball team almost since the day she arrived. As a Junior, the 5-foot-11 middle blocker won the newcomer of the year award, was named to the Big Sky Conference first team and finished first in the conference in hitting percentage (.356).

She hopes to improve on her performance this year since she's the only senior on the team and will be the team leader. A versatile and talented athlete, Sonju-Felder can play almost anywhere on the floor and will try to use here skill and experience to lead the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament.


Felder glad she picked a town called Cheney
Spokane WA Spokesman-Review 25Aug01 S2
By Hilary Kraus: Staff writer


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