Hard court couple
Misti & Stratton Solmon share bonds of competitiveness, marriage; by Eric Flores
Adams State College is not for everyone, but for Misti and Stratton Solomon it is the perfect place.
Stratton and Misti are transfer students here and they both play basketball. The two are here together sharing the bond of marriage. On top of that, they share another bond that is known around the world known as competitiveness.
"We are competitive in everything we do," explained Misti. "Any type of game, including sports and board games."
When the two met they remember playing racquetball. "We played three games and he didn't even score one point," noted Misti.
"It turns out her aunt plays and is extremely good. Misti humbled me," Stratton noted.
The competitiveness and shared passion for sports led the couple to start dating. Their competitiveness and friendship grew and led the couple to marriage in the summer of 2007. Now Stratton has as many chances as he wants to try and defeat Misti in racquetball.
They lived their first year in Arizona where Misti was a basketball player for Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher. Stratton cheered his wife on as Misti played on the Gila Monster team.
As he remembered this, Stratton jokingly said, "She improved and she is now ten times better as a Solomon than a Caldwell (Misti’s maiden name).”
"Getting married wasn't weird at all," said Misti, who changed her name after the marriage. "The only thing that I thought was weird was when they introduced me and announced my name at games and I would ask myself, 'who's that?'"
And with that Misti and Stratton are both being introduced to a new life and a new college. The trip to Adams State was an interesting one for these two. The two were introduced to Adams State because Misti's brother, Porter, had decided to transfer and try and play for the Grizzly men’s basketball team. Misty and Stratton decided to transfer because “my time was up, and I had to go somewhere if I still wanted to play,” said Misti.
"Originally my brother was going to transfer over and play for the ASC men's team," Misti said. "When he got here he found out that his credits wouldn't transfer."
"Misti and Porter were well known in Arizona, they were recruited to play here," explained Stratton. "We originally came because we thought there would be family here but even with the fallout of Porter's credits we still decided to stay here because they had a lot to offer Misti."
When the two found out that Porter’s credits would not transfer they thought about what they would do next. After some deliberation the two came up with a conclusion. "If they take my credits and they have the classes I need for my degree then this is the place I need to be," said Misti, who made it through the recruiting process and made it on ASC's women's basketball team. Stratton walked on to the men's team and he made it as well.
Because the two teams travel together to conference games, they spend time together sitting with each other on the bus as the coaches had no choice but to let them.
On the academic side, Misti wants to be a physical education teacher while Stratton wants to major in athletic administration. Last semester they had three classes together and this semester, they have only one. Because of all these shared classes the two have shared some awkward moments.
"I remember the teacher asking if Misti and I were related and I just laughed and said, ‘yeah,’" Stratton explained. "Even though there were other students that thought we were cousins."
When posed with the question how other people react when they find out they are married, they just smile and laugh. "My teammates thought it was weird at first," said Misti.
"My teammates still think it's weird," agreed Stratton. "When I talk about Misti I say wife, so to them it's different." Seconds later he went on to laugh as he said, "If people think it's weird then weird we'll be."
The two are very strong supporters of one another as much as they can. "When I see her play I never thought it would play on my emotions but when I became her husband it did," noted Stratton. "You want to see her succeed, and you get nervous when they go down hard."
With such great support they are each putting up some strong numbers this season. Misti leads the team with 22 steals and is second on the team in scoring as she is averaging 10.5 points and a game and was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference/Baden West Division Player of the Week on January 5th. Stratton has 22 assists and has played in 16 games, while making four starts for the Grizzlies.
After a loss by either team, both agreed that neither of them complains because they know what it's like and they both have gone through it.
Everyday is the same. "After a hard day at practice or a tough game it's always good to go home and have someone there who understands what I'm going through," said Stratton. "I really like coming home."
Their competitiveness has shown up at least once this year. During the annual basketball preview event, "The Late Show," Stratton and Misti faced off in a 3-point shooting contest. To Stratton's dismay, Misti dominated.
"It's all friendly competitiveness," laughed Misti. "But sometimes we get so competitive we have to stop what we’re doing and take a break."
However, there’s no taking a break these days, because the Grizzly women and men’s teams are in the thick of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference races, and Misti and Stratton are working hard on the court to make a difference in their teams’ success.