May. 22, 2017
With graduation only a week away, seniors are reflecting on their four years at Biola. For athletes with significant achievements in sports, the anticipation of a diploma is joined by aspirations for a future in the professional arena.
Three of Biola’s top senior athletes are praying to make it professionally in sports. All of them have received GSAC awards for outstanding athleticism, and are now they are preparing to move into their next phase of life.
Communications major Shalom Bako is one athlete hoping to rise to the next level in soccer.
“I’m headed in the right direction,” Bako said. “I signed with a new club called Hollywood Hitman. It’s a semi-pro team, and their moving to pro next year. They will decide to sign me again depending on how I play.”
Bako played four years on the men’s soccer team and started all 20 games this season. In the forward position, Bako tied three other teammates with five assists. The soccer team made a first time appearance at the NAIA quarterfinals and finished with one of the best records in Biola history going 13-5-4 overall.
For Bako, his first two years were a struggle as he was adapting to his role on the team. This changed when he entered his junior year and decided to play on the LA Galaxy’s Youth Academy team for players younger than 20.
“The team [LA Galaxy] helped me, because I was training with professional coaches,” Bako said. “From that point on I felt more comfortable to lead the players. Soon our team [Biola] success grew, and we became less of an individualistic team and more of a holistic team.”
Everything started to fall into place for the Eagles’ soccer team. Bako said that it was his goal to play as a team and they accomplished that greatly. One person who has supported Bako’s endeavors from the beginning was his roommate, friend and fellow athlete Marlon King.
King, a kinesiology major, aspires to play basketball professionally. He is currently working with an agency, which will increase his chances at securing a contract with a professional team. During the summer, he will be working on his skills and will be attending exposure camps for scouts.
Besides taking part in one of the best seasons in school history, King also excelled individually. He led the GSAC and ranked third in the NAIA in steals and became the 22nd Biola player to score 1,000 career points, finishing with 1,142--good for 14th on the all-time scoring list. For his efforts, King was a 2009-10 All-GSAC selection.
“Leadership is what helped this team go as far as we did,” King said. “It’s been a great experience, and the guys we had were a blessing. I wish I could continue the journey, but I will be there in spirit.”
King said he chose Biola because he liked the small environment.
“I felt welcomed,” King said. “It turned out to be the best thing for me.”
Another successful graduating athlete is volleyball player Kelsey Christoferson. She was named to the All-GSAC team during her senior year. Christoferson, like King, is with an agency team. At the beginning of the year, the agency sent Christoferson to Europe to meet with an international team. She is waiting to hear back from them.
Chrisoferson earned Third-Team NAIA All-American after achieving a 4.00 cumulative GPA in Mathematics. She also earned First-Team Academic All-District VIII honors for the third-straight season and received the 2009 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American Volleyball Third Team award for the College Division.
The volleyball team went to the 2009 NAIA Volleyball National Championships where the Eagles finished tied for fourth in conference and were ranked No. 10 in the final NAIA poll.
“I feel really blessed that all this happen this year,” Christoferson said. “We had frustrating injuries, and I never expected for us to end up where we did.”
Written by Mark Aguirre. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna dot l dot bartlo at biola dot edu.
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu