Three inductees will be added to Clark’s Athletics Hall of Fame during halftime of the men’s basketball game on Saturday.
The 1968 Clark men’s baseball team, Beth Hemrick, now Beth Graves, from the 1995 women’s basketball team and a 2003 track and field star, Kalani Rodrigues will be honored for their athletic achievements.
Clark’s first baseball championship came under coach Skeet O’Connell in 1956. It was the first championship of only two to this day. After coming in second place to Yakima Valley in the 1967 championship. The Penguins, under former coach Vern Kindsfather, rose again to win Clark’s second and last baseball championship in 1968.
Records that last is a pattern with all the nominees this year. Beth Hemrick, a former student from Prairie High School, broke the record for most points per game in the Northwest Athletic Conference tournament, with 29.3, as a freshman, in 1995. Hemrick ended the 1995 season with a 52 percent field goal average.
Hemrick led the Penguins to a league title, with a record of 12-2 and an overall record of 21-7. “Collegiate sports taught me hard work, teamwork and discipline,” Hemrick said. She added, “I enjoyed playing with that group of girls and we had great coaches.” Hemrick later expressed how great of an honor it was to be inducted into Clark’s Hall of Fame. Hemrick eventually left Clark for Corban University, in Salem, OR, where she led them to a National Christian Championship in 1997.
Like the other inductees, Rodrigues added several achievements to Clark’s list of athletic accomplishments.
At a young age, Rodrigues started playing T-ball. With his love for sports growing, he eventually made his way to Heritage High School where he played football along with track and field his senior year. After joining Clark, Rodrigues hit it off with his new track mates, bringing what his mother, Lori Jimerson, described as a low-key and humble attitude to the team.
“Everybody has an opportunity to leave a legacy,” Jimerson said,
as she described her son. Rodrigues created that legacy through his upbeat personality and dominance at the NWAC track and field competitions.
He secured multiple championships in his time at Clark, including the 400-meter dash, the 4×100-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay.
Rodrigues didn’t just impress on the track but also academically, making the Dean’s list with a 4.0 GPA.
However, in 2004, after contracting brain cancer, Rodrigues died at the age of 21.
“As a parent, I’m very proud that he left that much of a legacy,” said Jimerson, continuing to express her pride for Rodrigues’ ability to touch the lives of so many and that they would want to honor him in return.
Following his death, the “Kalani Rodrigues Memorial Scholarship Run/Walk and Luau”was created to provide awareness and athletic scholarships for high school athletes.
With help from the Clark College Foundation the scholarship has risen about $70,000.would want to honor him in return. to express her pride for Rodrigues’ ability to touch the lives of so many and that they would want to honor him in return.
Even though Rodrigues is gone, his desire to help others, whether through his foundation or his childhood dream of being a firefighter, lives on.