by Marcia Faye
Although he may have a rather distinguished first name Darwin Argumedo (CHE 3rd year) is hopeful that he'll be remembered at IIT for his academic accomplishments as well as his talents as a player for the Scarlet Hawks men's baseball team. Soon after Argumedo first stepped onto IIT's Ed Glancy Field in fall 2013, Head Coach Scott Marks knew he had a winner.
"Darwin represents everything we want an Illinois Tech student-athlete and baseball player to strive to be," says Marks, noting that Argumedo came to the university from Sinclair Community College in Ohio, where he scored big as a catcher and a hitter. "Throughout the fall season, Darwin showed increasing arm strength over and over again, so naturally we put a ball in his hand, took away the catcher's gear, and let him pitch. It was a foreign experience for him at first, but we are starting to see him become a large threat to our opponents not just as a catcher/hitter but also as a pitcher."
Argumedo learned baseball on the streets in Cartagena, Colombia, where he and his grade school buddies crafted balls out of stones wrapped in paper and plastic, which they hit with both aluminum and wooden bats. He admits that as a youth, having fun in the neighborhood took priority, and he had a difficult time focusing on either his homework or his blossoming ball skills until his father provided him with discipline in the form of a personal baseball coach/mentor.
Argumedo's love of the sport grew. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 2010, when he joined the nationally recognized Dayton [Ohio] Classics, a team that prepares players for either college- or professional-level baseball. Argumedo played with the organization for one year before entering community college and obtaining a slot on the Sinclair Tartan Pride ball team. Fully immersed in his life as a student-athlete, he shifted his priorities to his education.
"I looked for the best chemical engineering schools in the country and IIT was one of them," Argumedo says, adding that his first semester of coursework at the university presented him with a level of difficulty he had not anticipated, but that "it's all for the good of my future."
Thinking back to his formative ball-playing years, Argumedo says that one of his most cherished memories was when Orlando Cabrera, retired Colombian-American Major League Baseball shortstop, joined him and his friends in an impromptu game in the streets of Cartagena. Now, Argumedo is creating new experiences that are supplanting those of the past.
"The opportunities I have in the United States are unbelievable," he says. "The job fairs and my scholarship are awesome. I get to wake up and play baseball, and attend school at IIT. I feel blessed."
The entirety of the Summer 2014 IIT Magazine issue can be seen here.