Charles Darwin once said that the strongest and most intelligent will survive. Those who are the most adaptable, however, triumphs the strongest and the smartest in the battle of survival.
More than 130 years since his contributions to the theory of evolution, one of his main principles still serves a purpose that didn’t hinder a former Lady Wave star from becoming one of the more versatile athletes in Fallon during her career.
The willingness to adapt has paid dividends for Cady Cordes, who is in her first year playing volleyball at Western Connecticut State University.
“I always remember being told by coaches that it was better to be better at a lot of things. It will help the team more,” she said. “You can’t just assume you’re going to play a certain position in a game. You have to be flexible and take direction.”
Whether it was learning a new position during volleyball season, switching gears among her three sports or staying up past midnight studying, Cordes found a way to become successful in anything she tried.
“Every coach I have had has impacted my life. If any of them had not been in my life, I truly believe I would not be here today,” Cordes said. “That is what is important for me to do, take a lesson from every day, every interaction, or every time I take a step in a different direction.”
Cordes helped lead Fallon into the postseason on the volleyball court and was a standout for Silver State Volleyball Club. Her presence gave Fallon an edge inside in the paint on the basketball court. And her bat added to a bag of weapons for the softball team when it won state two years in a row.
Her father, Gary, knew she was destined for greatness while at Fallon when she would seemingly juggle school and sports with ease. Going to college to compete in sports while obtaining a solid education was never in question, although, Cordes tried persuading his daughter to go to his alma matter, Boise State.
“As she unfolded, she had the desire to compete in sports and enjoy sports,” he said. “It wasn’t unusual to find her at the kitchen table at 12:30 (in the morning) studying. She was looking forward to academics as much as athletics. She was looking to get the best of both worlds at Western Connecticut. She’s one of the unique students who enjoy going to school.”
At WCSU, Cordes hasn’t stepped off the gas pedal, holding her ability to adapt to high standards on and off the court.
She has been the team’s most consistent player this season, recording stats in every category. Having the ability to be flexible, Cordes has fit into WCSU coach Donald Ferguson’s system beautifully since arriving for preseason.
“Cady has been a ‘glue’ player this season,” Ferguson said. “Cady demonstrated these qualities quickly. Although she competed in high school and club as a middle, she has primarily played on the right side for us. This has allowed us to utilize her ability to block as well as run her in more up-tempo style attacks that she was accustomed to while playing in the middle. What was a pleasant surprise, was her ability to pass and play defense. She has become a mainstay in our primary passing group and is relied upon to play defense in the right back position.”
In the classroom, she was just as impressive as she was named one of 10 high school student-athlete seniors recognized by the NIAA last year. After she left a good impression on the Connecticut school during a visit earlier this year, she went from receiving a partial merit to a full-ride merit scholarship, the only one in the state.
“Cady has the type of character we are looking to build this program around,” Ferguson said. “She is an excellent student who cares deeply about her academic performance, her community and her family.”
Cordes went on the visit — the first time traveling to the East Coast — with her family, including her father, and met with several important figures on campus, including the volleyball team and Ferguson. She also met with the Dean of Nursing, the university president and the admissions clerk, and toured the campus as well.
“From the moment we met the coach at his office, it was a warm welcome to the university,” said Gary Cordes, the city of Fallon’s clerk and treasurer. “He already had a tremendous amount of tape, expressing some tremendous amount of background work on Cady. I thought he was extremely professional. This guy had all the kids on tape.”
After the trip, Cady Cordes felt right choosing WCSU because of the nursing, education and volleyball programs.
“With academics, it was the more you were involved in, the more colleges and now future employers would take interest in you,” she said. “I have a great interest in medicine, but know that I should have some understanding of other disciplines, such as accounting, to be successful in my career.”
Her family couldn’t be more thrilled, even if she’s living 3,000 miles away.
“It’s been a great experience as a parent to be involved on the progression of academics and athletics,” Gary Cordes added. “She’s extremely happy with how her dream is unfolding. The family is happy as well and can’t wait to see her during the Christmas holiday.”