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Block S Newsletter

Where are they now?

Ricky Ray 

Football 1999-2001

What made you decide to go to Sac State?
"Out of high school I wanted to keep playing football and initially, I was recruited by Sac State, but they ended up offering another player. I ended up going to Shasta Junior College which was close to home. I played two seasons at Shasta and then Sac State recruited me. Although other Big Sky schools recruited me, Sac State was closest to home and had a good business school."

What was your favorite memory as a Hornet?
"Beating UC Davis my Junior year and first year with the hornets was very memorable. We beat them pretty good at home and the stands were packed. Also, it was fun to just be a part of the team when Charles Roberts ran 2,000 yards for the season and had one game with 400+ yards. He was a great running back."

Tell us about your career path and how you got to where you are today?
"It was unique. Coming out of Sac State I thought I was done playing football. So I took a job with Frito Lay in their management training program, but then after a few months I was invited to the 49er training camp. They needed another quarterback. Getting to go to camp with my home team and being around those players gave me the drive to keep pursuing football. Then I just kept playing any chance I got. I played arena football and then Edmonton, where I solidified my career with the Canadian Football League. I played for sixteen years in the Canadian Football League. That opportunity to go to the 49er camp was a lucky break, because it started my career in football when I thought I was done."

What advice would you give our current student-athletes?
"Finding good balance. You’re there because you excel in sports and academics and need to find balance between the two. It can be a lot of work and stress and but you need to enjoy the opportunity to be an athlete and all the opportunities that come with that. It’s the people and experiences that you’re really going to remember. You need to find a balance between working hard and being there and enjoying your time."

 

Jami Shimada

Women's Soccer 2010-2014

What made you decide to go to Sac State?
"I knew I wanted to go out-of-state for college. Sac State offered me an opportunity to play soccer at a high level, and Randy and Mo were the kind of coaches who I knew would teach toughness and discipline. I also loved how green and sunny it was in Sacramento, so it was a combination of things that led me to becoming a Hornet. "

What was your favorite memory as a Hornet?
"Competition-wise, my favorite memory was freshman year when we played Stanford in the NCAA tournament (after winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament). The atmosphere was buzzing and the whole experience was surreal.A senior told us to soak it all in, because it could be the only time we were in tournament, so I made a point to focus on all of my emotions throughout the evening. The Hornet Olympics were always a blast. I loved seeing all of the teams come together, each showing off their unique identity while still uniting as one Hornet family."

Tell us about your career path and how you got to where you are today?
"I started my career in Sac State Athletics Development thanks to Lois Mattice. She connected me to Bethany Crouch and Markus Jennings in the Hornet Club because she knew I wanted to stay involved in athletics after I graduated. After 1.5 years with the Hornet Club, Markus found an opportunity at The University of Akron where I could pursue my MBA while also working as a graduate assistant for their athletics department. The fundraising experience I learned from those two jobs got me a position back home in Seattle with JDRF, a nonprofit organization raising money for type one diabetes research (as a type one diabetic, it was an amazing to get connected to this community). After a couple years, I decided to try something different from fundraising, and recently started a new job as an Escrow Assistant for a title company. The opening presented itself through a sponsor I had met through JDRF--which brings up the point that my career has been completely shaped by the people I have connected with along the way. Creating real bonds and relationships can make such a positive impact on your life."

What advice would you give our current student-athletes?
"Remember why you love your sport! Don't get so caught up in the wins and losses or awards and accolades, but instead appreciate what it takes to prepare to compete at your highest potential. Celebrate your mental toughness, your ability to push your body and mind to the limit, and your teammates that are right alongside you; there are many valuable lessons, traits, and bonds that you will take with you after you are done, and those are the things for which you will be the most grateful. "