Swinging Saint

Welborn named Co-Athlete of the Year at Mt. Hood C.C.

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John Welborn made his mark at Mt. Hood Community College by putting others before himself. The Camas grad became the college's 2014 Co-Athlete of the Year.

John Welborn didn’t skate away from his responsibilities as a Mt. Hood Saint.

The 2011 Camas High School graduate served as an announcer during the college’s basketball and volleyball games. He also washed baseball uniforms, led the team with a .320 batting average, scored 22 runs, drove in 10 and became a Northwest Athletic Association of Community College’s Southern Region First Team outfielder.

“Whenever I saw somebody who needed help, I just offered it. It always feels like the right thing to do,” Welborn said. “I really enjoy how the athletic department cares for their student athletes. I did all that I could to give back and make life easier for them.”

Welborn’s efforts caught the attention of his mentors. Head baseball coach Byran Donohoe nominated him for the Dutch Triebwasser Athlete of the Year award, which is given to a student athlete who excelled in the classroom and in their sport. Triebwasser helped start the athletic department at Mt. Hood CC in the fall of 1967. He was the college’s athletic commissioner until he retired in 1989. He passed away in September of that year.

“[Welborn] came here as a talented athlete but with plenty of room to grow as a baseball player,” Donohoe wrote in his nomination letter. “He knew this from day one and also recognized that it was going to take a lot of hard work to achieve what he ultimately wanted to do in our program, which was to become an impact player and move on to the four-year level. I can say without hesitation that [Welborn] has achieved this goal and has surpassed it by a long shot.”

Kim Hyatt, the dean of health, physical education, athletics, aquatics and recreation at Mt. Hood CC, recognized Welborn’s dedication as a student, baseball player and community leader. Welborn became the 2014 Dutch Triebwasser Co-Athlete of the Year, along with basketball player Mac Johnson of Spokane.

“[Welborn] is the type of young man you want representing your institution,” Hyatt said. “He has been someone that has worked extremely hard to improve his skills on the field and has been an excellent student.”

Hyatt said Welborn earned spots on the NWAACC All-Academic and Academic Leadership teams. He also announced, kept score and sung the National Anthem at several of the school’s athletic events.

“I will miss [Welborn] a lot. He has been a tremendous leader for all our student athletes,” Hyatt said. “We get some awesome students at Mt. Hood Community College, but [Welborn] is one of those kids that raises the bar for the type of young people that we want representing the college.”

Welborn’s willingness to put others before himself came from the examples set by his parents, Steve and Karen, and the town he grew up in. As the second oldest child, John learned about sharing responsibilities with his sisters, Katrina and Hannah, and brother, Stephen.

“Give time to help other people’s lives be easier. That’s the kind of lifestyle I want to live,” John Welborn said. “Camas is a great town. I love that place. Being around the community and people who care about it was a great influence on my life.”

Welborn graduated from Mt. Hood Saturday, with two Oregon transfer degrees. One for Associate’s in Arts and the other for Associate’s of Science in business. He will continue his baseball career and educational journey at Corbin College, in Salem.

“The coaching they have, the type of baseball they play and the kind of people they are all felt like a great fit for me,” Welborn said. “I hope I can reciprocate that. My goal is to compete and help others. I want that team to succeed, and I will do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

Welborn thanked Donohoe and the other baseball coaches at Mt. Hood for helping him develop from just a hitter into an outfielder with speed and a strong arm. As a red shirt in 2012, Welborn witnessed the Saints play in the NWAACC championship game from the dugout. He let every moment and learning opportunity sink in before getting his chance to shine in the next two years.

“I was happy to share that moment with the guys I got to know and love,” Welborn said. “It was a big part in my life.”

Welborn has played baseball since he was 5. He appreciates the game more after everything he has been through.

“I fell in love with the game and just kept playing it. As I grew older, it became a part of my life. I just kept rolling with it, and here I am,” Welborn said. “I love this game too much to quit early. I’ll be around coaching. I’ll always be a part of the game.”

For now, Welborn will keep swinging in the box and thinking about the lessons he learned as a Saint.

“Whether I won an award or not, I still would have done the same thing for all the people who helped me,” Welborn said. “I love Mt. Hood. It’s a very special place filled with a lot of people who would jump through hoops and a lot of people who deserve recognition. I’m no one special in that regard.”