April 17, 2007
CONTACT: Van Zanic & John Heft
Sports Information Office
What Comes From Vegas, Doesn′t Always Stay in Vegas
Beaver Falls, PA - What draws a student-athlete across the country to Geneva College to get an education and play baseball? One would have to ask senior first baseman Rob Arata that question? Arata is enjoying one of the finest baseball careers in school history, but the fact that he grew up in Las Vegas, NV, begs the question of what exactly is he doing in Beaver Falls, PA?
Because of an ankle injury in his senior year of high school, many of the colleges that were actively recruiting him backed off the chase, which ultimately opened the door for Arata to come to Geneva. How has it turned out for Arata and the Golden Tornadoes baseball team? Two weeks ago, Arata became the all-time hits leader at Geneva College. In addition to his team leading batting average the past three years, Arata is also on the verge of breaking the school record for doubles and is closing in on Geneva′s career batting average mark.
This season, Arata is hitting a cool .429 with team highs in hits (45), runs (39), doubles (12) and slugging percentage (.629). When asked what has been the highlight of his Geneva experience, baseball accomplishments don′t even stack up. "College has been a great experience," said Arata. "I have become a Christian; I have made everlasting friendships with teammates, peers, faculty and coaches. I have also entered into a relationship with a very amazing young woman." Apparently the word has spread throughout the Arata family about the impact this place can have as two more siblings are making the trip across country to experience Geneva College. Arata′s one sister is already at Geneva and his youngest sister has committed to join Geneva′s softball program in the fall. "These past four years, I have been absolutely blessed," said Arata.
The truth is Geneva College has also been blessed with his presence and what he has brought to the baseball program on and off the field. Along with his baseball teammates, Arata has participated in youth clinics for the past four years. While at the NCCAA national tournament, he also participated in holding baseball camps for underprivileged youth. Clearly, the scope of Geneva College is reaching far outside of Beaver County.
After graduation, Arata has plans to pursue his Physical Therapy degree. His plans are to return to Nevada to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas. However, before he leaves College Hill, he and his teammates still have some work to do. Enjoying a tremendous season already, Geneva′s baseball team is 20-12 and sitting in a first place tie in the American Mideast Conference. In the next few weeks, Arata hopes to help his team claim a conference title and possibly move on to the NAIA World Series. However, when his Geneva career ends, he will always have the memories of a wonderful college experience, which turned out to be well worth the trip across the United States for Arata and for the Golden Tornadoes.