Mladek overcomes injury and signs with Bluffton

| April 23, 2018

Cassie Mladek, center, signed her letter of intent on April 20 to play volleyball at Bluffton University. The Ridgewood High School senior is pictured with her mother Heather Slaughter and father Jason Mladek. Josie Sellers | Beacon

WEST LAFAYETTE – Cassie Mladek thought her chances of playing college volleyball were over when she hurt her knee, but that was just a roadblock, not an end to her journey.

The Ridgewood High School senior tore her ACL and Meniscus in January while playing Junior Olympics volleyball.

“I’ve been playing since I was in seventh grade and wanted to end (my time at Ridgewood) with a fun year, but then I got hurt,” Mladek said. “The pain was the worst, but I’m at my three month mark now and I’m starting to feel good. Therapy pushes you.”

She had surgery in February and has been working hard three days a week in rehab. On April 20 all the hard work paid off when she signed her letter of intent to play volleyball at Bluffton University.

“I’m extremely proud of her,” said Heather Slaughter, Cassie’s mother. “She’s worked so hard to make this dream come true. We really thought it was over when she got hurt. I remember her looking me in the eyes and her saying she was done, but her dream came true.”

Heather said Bluffton’s coach was great throughout the whole process.

“Coach (Steve) Yarnell was extremely supportive,” Slaughter said. “He continued to text her and asked how she’s doing.”

Mladek said she liked Bluffton from the first time she visited.

“I felt at home,” she said. “When I went on my tour everyone was talking to each other and the coach was supportive. It was the first school I applied to and visited. It was always in the back of my mind when I looked at others.

Mladek will be an outside hitter on the volleyball team and is thinking about majoring in early childhood education.

“I definitely want to thank my mom for helping me get where I am and Laura Crawford for her wise words,” Mladek said. “My JO volleyball team was supportive too and still behind me even though I didn’t get to play.”

In addition to her mother, Cassie also was joined on her signing day by her stepfather Rex and dad and stepmother Jason and Natasha Mladek.

“We are proud of her for chasing her dream,” Jason said.

Natasha added that it was devastating when Cassie hurt her knee.

“All her hard work paid off though and now she gets to do what she loves,” Natasha said.

Category: High School, Sports

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

Comments are closed.