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Sometimes it's good to excell in multiple sports and not focus solely on one specialized sport. And sometimes it just plain pays off to be a good all-around athlete. In an age where more and more boys and girls drop all but one sport by the time they enter high school, it's refreshing to know that there are a rare few who still do it the old-fashioned way, for the love of all sports, from basketball to track to soccer to baseball.
Named as a Finalist for Athlete of the Year in the Seattle Area, Nanda McCormick has tried just about every sport there is, from gymnastics at age 5 to Division 1 basketball at age 20. She had offers for both basketball and soccer from WCC and Big Sky schools.
After a stellar high school career in soccer, basketball and track, the fleet 5'9" (5'10" in shoes) McCormick chose to play hoops at Gonzaga, knowing she would have to drop everything else if she had any hopes of developing her game with the dedication and time necessary to succeed at the D1 level. So she took her freshman year and redshirted.
But with the meteoric rise of the women's basketball team, currently first in the WCC and holding the nation's longest winning streak, and the influx of better and better talent, Nanda came to the conclusion that her minutes would be minimal as she continued developing her game. She realized her slight build might not lend itself to the physical play that her small forward position would require...
It was Autumn of 2004 when she was playing some recreational soccer and started thinking about a possible change. Her knack for scoring, her natural sprinters speed, her great coordination in the open field, her height advantage over most other soccer players, all started coming back to her.
Nanda was clicking on the soccer field.
And Gonzaga women's soccer coach Shannon Stiles noticed. In fact, the coach was well aware of Nanda's soccer exploits at Shorewood High.
So, a decision had to be made. Ultimately, she sat down with the women's basketball staff and told them what was on her mind. She would play soccer.
With the support of everyone at Gonzaga, McCormick joined the soccer team and is now in the midst of offseason training and workouts. She'll take part in some matches this spring against WSU, Montana and other schools before staying most of the summer at GU to practice and get ready for the fall season.
Footwork is what she's concentrating on most now. With her height she is confident she'll have many opportunities to score with headers. That was a specialty of hers in high school and on elite summer soccer teams.
Like her mid-range jumper, she's already good, but Nanda knows how tough the WCC is when it comes to women's soccer. It's one of the premier conferences in the nation. So, there's no time to waste. She has to get better, and fast, if she hopes to keep pace with championship teams like Portland, Pepperdine or Santa Clara.
Nanda remains the best of friends with her old basketball teammates, still living with them, and stays in touch with Kelly Graves and staff. As she says, "I now am a part of two families," referring to basketball and soccer.
Nandini "Nanda" McCormick is majoring in Business and wants to earn her MBA by the time her final year of athletics is exhausted. She has an older brother who attended Loyola-Marymount and is in the movie business, and she has a younger sister who she describes as an academic genius. Nandini is her full name, from her Fiji-born mother; it means "Bestower of Joy."
A perfect name if you're a Gonzaga soccer fan these days.