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