Coast Union graduate Sophie Flemion was honored as a top athlete in Kern County from the Bakersfield Jockey Club on Monday, Jan. 11.
Those who remember the remarkable talent and grace Flemion displayed during her high school career in Cambria may not know that she was a walk-on player as a freshman with Cal State Bakersfield’s (CSUB) Roadrunner volleyball squad in 2012. Or that she has had a great career at Bakersfield.
She had a solid freshman year and redshirted as a sophomore. During her junior year, she helped CSUB win the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Championship and this year, CSUB again made it to the WAC championship game, losing to New Mexico State, 25-22, 25-23, 25-16.
Not content just playing indoor volleyball, Flemion has been playing collegiate beach volleyball for several years, and has coached club volleyball (both beach and indoor) for several teams and leagues in the Bakersfield area.
In a Sunday morning phone interview last weekend, Flemion related how grateful she was that her parents supported her in her first two years at CSUB, and how rewarding it was for her to be on a volleyball scholarship for her junior and senior years.
“Especially for my parents I was really happy that I was able to relieve them” of having to pick up the costs of her education, she said. Because she redshirted as a sophomore, she has one more year of eligibility, even though she will graduate this June with a degree in Physical Education and Kinesiology, or PEAK.
No doubt Karen and Bill Flemion — Bill manages the San Simeon Arabians ranch north of the Hearst Ranch on Highway 1 — were only too happy to help with their daughter’s education after the stellar career she had at Coast Union.
That volleyball career included: being named three-time MVP of the Lady Broncos; helping Coast win the 2011 CIF Southern Section Division 5-A Championship; CIF Division 5-A Player of the Year honors in 2011; Coast Valley League MVP status in 2010; making first feam All-San Luis Obispo County in 2011; being namede Coast’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2010-2011; and being voted by her class to deliver the farewell address at graduation.
It’s a feeling that nobody can ever take away from my teammates and me. That was a great time.
Sophie Flemion, on winning the section championship in 2011
“My memories are absolutely vivid of that night at Cuesta College” when Coast won the CIF championship in 2011 in front of a packed house. “The amount of support from Coast Union we had in the gym that night, it was so loud, and me and all my teammates, we had a blast. We just knew we were going to win.
“It’s a feeling that nobody can ever take away from my teammates and me. That was a great time.”
As for her Coast Union sports experiences, the 5-foot-7 university senior said, “It doesn’t matter how small you are, it’s the heart, the leadership, and believing what you can do as an individual — and believing in those around you. That’s really all it takes.”
Does she prefer playing beach or indoor volleyball?
“I love sand so much. It’s definitely a huge passion of mine. It’s just you and one other girl. It’s all about strategy, and you have to totally cooperate with your partner. I love it.”
Meanwhile, her goal following graduation — and after obtaining a teaching credential and finishing her final year of indoor volleyball at CSUB — is to return to the Central Coast, teach, and coach volleyball.
I really want to come back to the Central Coast, teach, and introduce kids to a new level of being competitive, help them learn how to push toward their dreams.
“I really want to come back to the Central Coast, teach, and introduce kids to a new level of being competitive, help them learn how to push toward their dreams,” in the same way Coast Union head coach Pam Kenyon helped her, both athletically and academically. “She pushed all of us to step out of our comfort zone. I always talk about Pam; I always think about her.”
And those who witnessed Coast’s CIF volleyball championship at Cuesta on Nov. 18, 2011, will not soon forget the thrilling moment that team celebrated a wild and worthy victory.