Former Coronado athletes make an impact at the next level

October 3, 2019


Photo Courtesy / Dom Grissom

Coronado alumni, like Dom Grissom (shown here), are making a splash at the athletic programs of universities across the country.

Along with having prestigious academics, great fine arts programs, and many engaging clubs, Coronado is also known for their athletics. The school has been able to produce various amazing athletes that were able to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level, chiefly competing in Division I (DI).

One of the most successful volleyball players that has ever come through the program was Campbell Bowden, who graduated in 2019. The four-year starter led the team to the playoffs all four years and was able to make it to the sweet 16 in both her sophomore and senior year. Bowden was the Most Valuable Player in the city for her sophomore, junior, and senior year. Though she didn’t win the award her freshman year, she was defensive player of the year in the district. Throughout her career, Bowden racked up 868 kills, 552 digs, and 35 assists.

“Besides going to the sweet 16 my senior year, my favorite memory from Coronado was honoring Emma Grace,” Bowden said, referring to a young girl who suffers from a life-threatening mitochondrial disease. “It helped all of us realize it’s much more than volleyball and life is truly about finding joy in helping others.”

Photo / Dalyn Main
Bowden rises up to spike a ball against the rival Franklin Cougars.

After her stellar high school career, Bowden took her talents to Waco, Texas, to join the Baylor Bears Volleyball team. She is the latest volleyball player to go DI.

“I chose Baylor because I could get a good education as well as play volleyball,” Bowden said. “The most important thing was this university is truly centered on Christ.”

Along with Bowden, Ayaan Sohail is an outstanding athlete and 2019 grad. He has taken his basketball talents to the DI level. Sohail is a freshman at Lamar University, in Beaumont, Texas. Being one of the most electric players in the city, he got a lot of attention in the area. Before committing to Lamar, he received interests from DI schools like North Carolina Central, Elon University, Eastern Washington University, and the University of Hartford.

“I chose Lamar University because it felt like a family,” Sohail said. “It’s a brotherhood that is all in for a championship.”

Sohail was a three-year varsity player who had immediate impact on the team. Along with throwing down impressive dunks in games, Sohail averaged 20.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in the 31 games during his last season at Coronado. Sohail accomplished many feats in his high school career, including scoring over 1,000 points and earning a bi-district title his senior year.

Photo / Dalyn Main
Sohail lines up for a free throw in his final game at Coronado.

“If I could give any advice to any high school basketball players, I would say enjoy the process,” Sohail said. “High school goes by in a blink of an eye, so enjoy every moment.”

Though 2017 seems like ages ago, many still remember the impact Dom Grissom had on the school. Grissom, a four-year starter on the baseball team, is still one of the most talented players to come out of El Paso. In his four years on the varsity squad, Grissom hit over 20 home runs, more than 150 total hits, and had greater than 100 runs batted in. Grissom had a significant impact on the district title the team won his junior year.

Photo Courtesy / Dom Grissom
Grissom throws the ball to first base at Southwest University Park in his senior season.

“My favorite memory at Coronado would be hitting a walk off home run in the final game of district to win the district championship for the first time in 20 years,” Grissom said.

Grissom, who is now a junior at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, has made many stops before finding his home at GCU. Coming out of high school, Grissom had various opportunities to play at an assortment of DI schools. He committed to the University of San Francisco during his senior year of high school and attended the university his freshman year. Grissom decided to transfer after his freshman year, finding a temporary home at Phoenix College. After having a great sophomore campaign at Phoenix College, he committed to GCU. Grissom is preparing for a breakout junior year and is hoping to make an immediate impact on the program.

“If I could give one piece of advice to a high school baseball player, I’d tell them to believe in themselves no matter what anyone says and hit the ball far,” Grissom said. “Nobody can catch it if it goes over the fence.”

Though Grissom is the only current DI baseball player that attended Coronado, this will all change next fall. Ivan Melendez has recently committed to the University of Texas (UT) to continue his academic and baseball career. The 2018 grad was a superstar in high school, having a batting average of over .500, hitting over 14 home runs, and racking up dozens of hits his senior year.

“If I could give advice to a high school baseball player I would say it’s all about the work ethic,” Melendez said. “Today’s game is becoming a game of power, so the weights are extremely beneficial as well.”

Coming out of high school, Melendez didn’t receive great interest from DI schools despite being one of the more elite hitters in the state. Given that, he committed to Odessa Community College his senior year. Melendez had an impressive freshman year in Odessa, hitting 17 home runs, driving in 70 runs, and posting a .411 batting average. These numbers contributed to his NJCAA D1 All-American 3rd Team selection and new interest in him from schools like the University of Kentucky, the University of Nebraska, Texas Tech, and the University of Texas at Austin (UT). After many visits and calculated thinking, Melendez has decided to commit to UT for the fall of 2020.

“I chose the University of Texas at Austin because I thought the facilities were better than other schools,” Melendez said. “I also want to be coached by former MLB All Star Troy Tulowitzki.”

Though many don’t realize, Coronado has produced many elite DI athletes that are making impacts on programs around the country. Hopefully, the school can continue to manufacture successful collegiate athletes.

About the Contributor
Photo of Reed Medlock
Reed Medlock, Writer

Reed Medlock is a senior who has been in newspaper for two years.  His favorite part of newspaper is interviewing athletes from different Coronado sports...

1 Comment

One Response to “Former Coronado athletes make an impact at the next level”

  1. Peggy Ligner on October 9th, 2019 9:15 am

    I really enjoyed reading your story, it is nice to know where people are and how they are doing after they leave CHS.

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